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WORLDS of SMjf FICTIOfi 

, -2«^ ADDii 10S4 35 CENTS 



APRIL 1954 35 CENTS 




■* f - 






CITY IN THE DESERT — With population passing the 200,000,000 
count, people will be pushed onto desert land or into the wildernesses. 
Here is an independent, city-containing building housing 25,000 peo- 
ple, along with all shopping centers, gardens, recreation and entertain- 
ment facilities required by a city of that size. Design of the structure 
is such that the building itself provides needed shade over the entire 
desert area which it occupies. (Now see inside back cover.) 



PPSI WORLDS of SCIENCE FICTION 

APRIL 1954 
All Stories New and Complete 

Editor: JAMES L. QUINN 

Assistant Editors: THOR L. KROGH 

EVE P. WULFF 

Cover by Ken Fagg: A Space Nation Composed of 
Independent City Planets 

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I NOVELETTES | 

I THE GOLDEN MAN by Phillip K. Dick 4 | 

I CARRIER by Robert Sheckley 50 | 

I SHORT STORIES | 

I BREEDER REACTION by Winston Marks 29 | 

I WAY OF A REBEL by Walter Miller, Jr. 39 | 

I ALL IN THE MIND by Gene L. Henderson 84 | 

I PROBABILITY by Louis Trimble 99 | 

I THE LAST CONQUEROR by Morton Klass 107 | 

I FEATURES I 

i B 

I A CHAT WITH THE EDITOR 2 I 

I "IT'S ABOUT TIME ..." | 

I (Fact Article) by R. S. Richardson 77 | 

I OUT OF THIS WORLD 83 | 

I SCIENCE BRIEFS 119 | 

I COVER PICTORIAL: Homes of the Future | 

I By Ed Valigursky | 

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IF is published monthly by Qinnn Publishing Company, Inc. Volume 3, No. 2. 
Copyright- 1954 by Quinn Publishing Co., Inc. Office of publication, 8 Lord Street, 
Buffalo, New York. Entered as Second Class Matter at Post Office, Buffalo, New 
York. Subscription §3.50 for 12 issues in U.S. and Possessions; Canada $4 for 12 
issues; elsewhere $4.50. Allow four weeks for change of address. All stories appear- 
ing in this magazine are fiction; any similarity to actual persons is coincidentai. 
Not responsible for luisolicited artwork or manuscripts. 35c a copy. Printed in U.S.A. 

EDlTORiAL AMD BUSINESS OFFICES, KINGSTON. NEW YORK 

Next issue on sale March 10th 




A CHAT WITH 
THE EDITOR 

■EVERY NOW and then it seems 
like somebody's gotta put in a good 
word for Mankind because, judg- 
ing from some of the manuscripts 
coming into this office, the poor ole 
guy is doomed irrevocably and 
finally to fire and brimstone. May- 
be certain themes in science fiction 
run in cycles, and this is one of 
those cycles, but a flock of writers 
are certainly booking Mankind as 
the underdog— with a capital U 
and no bets taken. 

The particular kind of plot we 
are allergic to portrays Mankind 
so broken down, degraded and de- 
praved that the only cure is violent 
extermination. Like, if you come 
home and find the little wife pretty 
sick with a bad stomach ache or 
something — well, you just shove 
her into the furnace and that cures 
her stomach ache. Or, if you have 
a comparatively new house and 
you discover that the plumbing 



leaks. In a case like this you call 
the Army (the Navy if you live 
near the seashore) and have them 
blow it to smithereens with one 
of their new cannons, and the 
plumbing leak is fixed forever. Or, 
in a more science fiction sense some- 
thing like this: 

A super-super intelligent being 
from Venus or Mars or somewhere 
lands on Earth and cases the joint. 
After spending a week on terra he 
decides — ^because a certain girl 
won't let him neck with her, or 
because a couple of ruffians en- 
gage in a beastly fistfight, or be- 
cause the guy at the soda counter 
at a corner drugstore insists on 
getting paid for a chocolate sim- 
dae — that the world is no dam 
good and oughta be destroyed. So 
the author gives this Martian or 
Venusian or something an Atom 
bomb with which he blows up 
Mankind and the world and that's 
the end of the story. Or — some wise 
old bird, way off in space, gets a 
look at Earth through a telescope 
and decides he ain't happy with 
what he sees, so what does he do? 
You guessed it. He pushes a button 
and — zzzzzzzzz!— Mankind from 
pole to pole is cremated. 

That's just a couple of examples 
how Mankind gets its cure from 
space. Then, there are the authors 
who figure that the Earth should 
take care of its own. In this man- 
ner we are devoured by animals, or 
we are eaten up by swarms of in- 
sects or we are nibbled happily to 
extinction by fish. The object here 
is that when every human being is 
digested the animals or the fish or 
the birds or bees would take over 
and be better rulers of Earth than 



Mankind has ever been or can ever 
hope to be. 

Now, let's see. Suppose, for in- 
stance, that the animal kingdom 
took over. Would all be Utopia, 
peace and quiet and happy hunt- 
ing? In the pig's eye! The carni- 
vorous ones would snarl and fight 
and eat each other. The vegetari- 
ans (like rabbits) would become 
so numerous so fast that they'd be 
fighting over the vegetables. Sup- 
pose the birds took over. What do 
you think would happen to little 
sparrows and robins with Mr. 
Hawk and Mr. Eagle running Con- 
gress. Or, how about the httle 
bluefish or guppy with Senator 
Shark heading the foreign affairs 
committee? Anyhow, you see what 
we mean? 

MANKIND has been around a long 
time and will undoubtedly be 
around a few more years. So it's 
kind of natural (don't you think?) 
that the old guy should be suscep- 
tible to quirks and cranks and a 
belly full of meanness now and 
then. Fundamentally, Mankind is 
no worse today than it was a hun- 
dred or a thousand or ten thou- 
sand years ago. From the very be- 
ginning it has been bicker and 
bungle, fuss and fight, maim and 
murder — but somehow it has al- 
ways gone forward. Business, re- 
ligion, education, economics, 
science, etc., etc., have all been 
built and advanced on bloodshed 
and violence. Just look at your his- 
tory books and see if you can find 
one single, solitary phase of the 



civilization we know today that 
hasn't incurred it's share of bick- 
ering and bloodshed. 

SO let's throw out the baggy- 
kneed theme of improving Man- 
kind by destroying it. You can't 
improve anything by destroying it. 
Throw out the bad and there 
is no good. Throw out the good 
and there is no bad. If there is no 
darkness you got no light. If there 
is no light you got no darkness. 
Everything in this world is relative; 
without one thing you can't have 
another. This old universe is a pot 
of chemistry and its gotta keep 
boiling with its conflicting elements 
or there won't be a pot. 

Of course, I'm an optimistic 
sort of guy myself, and I think most 
folks are. If they weren't, we'd still 
be back in the dark ages — or we 
wouldn't be around at all. Nor 
would the animals. They gotta be 
optimistic too, or they would have 
no scrappin', lovin' or eatin' either! 

Fortunately, the doom, doom, 
doom, that's been reaching this 
office via Uncle Sam's mail is only 
a very minute, microscopic particle 
of the science fiction being written 
today. In both books and maga- 
zines you will find a lot of very 
fine writing with excellent science 
fiction themes — stories that are 
good, substantial, entertaining read- 
ing; stories that make you curious, 
that make you anticipate the future 
— not scared out of your boots 
about it. To these writers, whether 
they appear in this magazine or 
not, IF doffs its hat. — jlq 



The powers of earth had finally exterminated the 
last of the horrible tribes of mutant freaks spawned 
by atomic war. Menace to homo sapien supremacy 
was about ended — but not quite. For out of the 
countryside came a great golden, godlike youth 
whose extraordinary mutant powers, combining 
the world's oldest and newest methods of survival, 
promised a new and superior type of mankind , . . 



By PhiUip K. Dick 

Illustrated by Kelly Freas 



IS IT ALWAYS hot like this?" 
the salesman demanded. He ad- 
dressed everybody at the lunch 
counter and in the shabby booths 
against the wall. A middle-aged fat 
man with a good-natured smile, 
rumpled gray suit, sweat-stained 
white shirt, a drooping bowtie, and 
a panama hat. 

"Only in the summer," the wmt- 
ress answered. 

None of the others stirred. The 
teen-age boy and girl in one of the 
booths, eyes fixed intently on each 
other. Two workmen, sleeves rolle-l 
up, arms dark and hairy, eating 



bean soup and rolls. A lean, weath- 
ered farmer. An elderly business- 
man in a blue-serge suit, vest and 
pocket watch. A dark rat-faced cab 
driver drinking coffee. A tired 
woman who had come in to get off 
her feet and put down her bundles. 

The salesman got out a package 
of cigarettes. He glanced curiously 
around the dingy cafe, lit up, 
leaned his arms on the counter, 
and said to the man next to him : 
"What's the name of this town?" 

The man grunted. "Walnut 
Creek." 

The salesman sipped at his coke 



PHILLIP K. DICK 



for awhile, his cigarette held loose- 
ly between his plump white fingers. 
Presently he reached in his coat 
and brought out a leather wallet. 
For a long time he leafed thought- 
fully through cards and papers, 
bits of notes, ticket stubs, endless 
odds and ends, soiled fragments — 
and finally a photograph. 

He grinned at the photograph, 
and then began to chuckle, a low 
moist rasp. "Look at this," he said 
to the man beside him. 

The man went on reading his 
newspaper. 

"Hey, look at this." The sales- 
man nudged him with his elbow 
and pushed the photograph at him. 
"How's that strike you?" 

Annoyed, the man glanced brief- 
ly at the photograph. It showed a 
nude woman, from the waist up. 
Perhaps thirty-five years old. Face 
turned away. Body white and flab- 
by. With eight breasts. 

"Ever seen anything like that?" 
the salesman chuckled, his little 
red eyes dancing. His face broke 
into lewd smiles and again he 
nudged the man. 

"I've seen that before." Disgust- 
ed, the man resumed reading his 
newspaper. 

The salesman noticed the lean 
old farmer was looking at the pic- 
ture. He passed it genially over to 
him. "How's that strike you, pop? 
Pretty good stuff, eh?" . 

The farmer examined the picture 
solemnly. He turned it over, stud- 
ied the creased back, took a sec- 
ond look at the front, then tossed 
it to the salesman. It slid from the 
iDimter, turned over a couple of 
limes, and fell to the floor face up. 

The salesman picked it up and 



brushed it off. Carefully, almost 
tenderly, he restored it to his wal- 
let. The waitress' eyes flickered as 
she caught a glimpse of it. 

"Damn nice," the salesman ob- 
served, with a wink. "Wouldn't 
you say so?" 

The waitress shrugged indiffer- 
ently. "I don't know. I saw a lot 
of thera around Denver. A whole 
colony." 

"That's where this was taken. 
Denver DCA Camp." 

"Any still alive?" the farmer 
asked. 

The salesman laughed harshly. 
"You kidding?" He made a short, 
sharp swipe with his hand. "Not 
any more." 



THEY WERE all listening. Even 
the high school kids in the 
booth had stopped holding hands 
and were sitting up straight, eyes 
wide with fascination. 

"Saw a funny kind down near 
San Diego," the farmer said. "Last 
year, some time. Had wings like a 
bat. Skin, not feathers. Skin and 
bone wings." 

The rat-eyed taxi driver chimed 
in. "That's nothing. There was a 
two-headed one in Detroit. I saw 
it on exhibit." 

"Was it alive?" the waitress 
asked. 

"No. They'd already euthed it." 

"In sociology," the high school 
boy spoke up, "we saw tapes of a 
whole lot of them. The winged kind 
from down south, the big-headed 
one they found in Germany, an 
awful-looking one with sort of 
cones, like an insect. And — " 

"The worst of all," the elderly 



THE GOLDEN MAN 



businessman stated, "are those Eng- 
lish ones. That hid out in the coal 
mines. The ones they didn't find 
until last year." He shook his head. 
"Forty years, down there in the 
mines, breeding and developing. Al- 
most a hundred of them. Survivors 
from a group that went under- 
ground during the War." 

"They just found a new kind in 
Sweden," the waitress said. "I was 
reading about it. Controls minds at 
a distance, they said. Only a cou- 
ple of them. The DCA got there 
plenty fast." 

"That's a variation of the New 
Zealand type," one of the work- 
men said. "It reads minds." 

"Reading and controlling are two 
different things," the businessman 
said. "When I hear something like 
that I'm plenty glad there's the 
DCA." 

"There was a type they found 
right after the War," the farmer 
said. "In Siberia. Had the ability 
to control objects. Psychokinetic 
ability. The Soviet DCA got it 
right away. Nobody remembers that 
any more." 

"I remember that," the business- 
man said. "I was just a kid, then. 
I remember because that was the 
first deeve I ever heard of. My 
father called me into the living- 
room and told me and my brothers 
and sisters. We were still rebuilding 
the house. That was in the days 
when the DCA inspected everyone 
and stamped their arms." He held 
up his thin, gnarled wrist. "I was 
stamped there, sixty years ago." 

"Now they just have the birth 
inspection," the waitress said. She 
shivered. "There was one in San 
Francisco this month. First in over 



a year. They thought it was over, 
around here." 

"It's been dwindling," the taxi 
driver said. "Frisco wasn't too bad 
hit. Not like some. Not like De- 
troit." 

"They still get ten or fifteen a 
year in Detroit," the high school 
boy said. "All around there. Lots 
of pools still left. People go into 
them, in spite of the robot signs." 

"What kind was this one?" the 
salesman asked. "The one they 
found in San Francisco." 

The waitress gestured. "Common 
type. The kind with no toes. Bent- 
over. Big eyes." 

"The nocturnal type," the sales- 
man said. 

"The mother had hid it. They 
say it was three years old. She got 
the doctor to forge the DCA chit. 
Old friend of the family." 

The salesman had finished his 
coke. He sat playing idly with his 
cigarette, listening to the hum of 
talk he had set into motion. The 
high school boy was leaning excit- 
edly toward the girl across from 
him, impressing her with his fund 
of knowledge. The lean farmer and 
the businessman were huddled to- 
gether, remembering the old days, 
the last years of the War, before the 
first Ten-Year Reconstruction Plan. 
The taxi driver and the two work- 
men were swapping yams about 
their own experiences. 

The salesman caught the wait- 
ress' attention. "I guess," he said 
thoughtfully, "that one in Frisco 
caused quite a stir. Something like 
that happening so close." 

"Yeah," the waitress murmured. 

"This side of the Bay wasn't 
really hit," the salesman continued. 



8 



PHILLIP K. DICK 



"You never get any of them over 
here." 

"No." The waitress moved 
abruptly. "None in this area. Ever." 
She scooped up dirty dishes from 
the counter and headed toward the 
back. 

"Never?" the salesman asked, 
surprised. "You've never had any 
deeves on this side of the Bay?" 

"No. None." She disappeared in- 
to the back, where the fry cook 
stood by his burners, white apron 
and tattooed wrists. Her voice was 
a little too loud, a little too harsh 
and strained. It made the farmer 
pause suddenly and glance up. 

Silence dropped like a curtain. 
All sound cut ofT instantly. They 
were all gazing down at their food, 
suddenly tense and ominous. 

"None around here," the taxi 
driver said, loudly and clearly, to 
no one in particular. "None ever." 

"Sure," the salesman agreed gen- 
ially. "I was only — " 

"Make sure you get that 
straight," one of the workmen said. 

The salesman blinked. "Sure, 
buddy. Sure." He fumbled nervous- 
ly in his pocket. A quarter and a. 
dime jangled to the floor and he 
hurriedly scooped them up. "No 
offense." 

For a moment there was silence. 
Then the high school boy spoke up, 
aware for the first time that nobody 
was saying anything. "I heard 
something," he began eagerly, 
voice full importance. "Somebody 
s;ud they saw something up by the 
jolmson farm that looked like it 
was one of those — " 

"Shut up," the businessman said, 
witlujut turning his head. 



SCARLET-FACED, the boy 
sagged in his seat. His voice 
wavered and broke off. He peered 
hastily down at his hands and swal- 
lowed unhappily. 

The salesman paid the waitress 
for his coke. "What's the quickest 
road to Frisco?" he began. But the 
waitress had already turned her 
back. 

The people at the counter were 
immersed in their food. None of 
them looked up. They ate in frozen 
silence. Hostile, unfriendly faces, in- 
tent on their food. 

The salesman picked up his 
bulging briefcase, pushed open the 
screen door, and stepped out into 
the blazing sunlight. He moved 
toward his battered 1978 Buick, 
parked a few meters up. A blue- 
shirted traffic cop was standing in 
the shade of an awning, talking 
languidly to a young woman in 
a yellow silk dress that clung moist- 
ly to her slim body. 

The salesman paused a moment 
before he got into his car. He 
waved his hand and hailed the 
policeman. "Say, you know this 
town pretty good?" 

The policeman eyed the sales- 
man's rumpled gray suit, bowtie, 
his sweat-stained shirt. The out-of- 
state license. "What do you want?" 

"I'm looking for the Johnson 
farm," the salesman said. "Here 
to see him about some litigation." 
He moved toward the policeman, 
a small white card between his 
fingers. "I'm His attorney — from 
the New York Guild. Can you tell 
me how to get out there? I haven't 
been through here in a couple of 
years." 



THE GOLDEN MAN 



Nat Johnson gazed up at the 
noonday sun and saw that it was 
good. He sat sprawled out on the 
bottom step of the porch, a pipe 
between his yellowed teeth, a lithe, 
wiry man in red-checkered shirt 
and canvas jeans, powerful hands, 
iron-gray hair that was still thick 
despite sixty-five years of active 
life. 

He was watching the children 
play. Jean rushed laughing in front 
of him, bosom heaving under her 
sweat shirt, black hair streaming 
behind her. She was sixteen, bright- 
eyed, legs strong and straight, slim 
young body bent sUghtly forward 
with the weight of the two horse- 
shoes. After her scampered Dave, 
fourteen, white teeth and black 
hair, a handsome boy, a son to be 
proud of. Dave caught up with his 
sister, passed her, and reached the 
far peg. He stood waiting, legs 
apart, hands on his hips, his two 
horseshoes gripped easily. Gasping, 
Jean hurried toward him. 

"Go ahead!" Dave shouted. 
"You shoot first. I'm waiting for 
you." 

"So you can knock them away?" 

"So I can knock them closer." 

Jean tossed down one horseshoe 
and gripped the other with both 
hands, eyes on the distant peg. 
Her lithe body bent, one leg slid 
back, her spine arched. She took 
careful aim, closed one eye, and 
then expertly tossed the shoe. With 
a clang the shoe struck the distant 
peg, circled briefly around it, then 
bounced off again and rolled to one 
side. A cloud of dust rolled up. 

"Not bad," Nat Johnson admit- 
ted, from his step. "Too hard, 
though. Take it easy." His chest 



swelled with pride as the girl's 
glistening, healthy body took aim 
and again threw. Two powerful, 
handsome children, almost ripe, on 
the verge of adulthood. Playing to- 
gether in the hot sun. 

And there was Cris. 

Oris stood by the porch, arms 
folded. He wasn't playing. He was 
watching. He had stood there since 
Dave and Jean had begun playing, 
the same half-intent, half-remote 
expression on his fineiy-cut face. 
As if he were seeing past them, be- 
yond the two of them. Beyond the 
field, the barn, the creek bed, the 
rows of cedars. 

"Come on, Cris!" Jean called, as 
she and Dave moved across the 
field to collect their horseshoes. 
"Don't you want to play?" 

No, Cris didn't want to play. He 
never played. He was off in a 
world of his own, a world into 
which none of them could come. 
He never joined in anything, games 
or chores or family activities. He 
was by himself always. Remote, 
detached, aloof. Seeing past every- 
one and everything — that is, until 
all at once something clicked and 
he momentarily rephased, reen- 
tered their world briefly. 



NAT JOHNSON reached out 
and knocked his pipe against 
the step. He refilled it from his 
leather tobacco pouch, his eyes on 
his eldest son. Cris was now mov- 
ing into life. Heading out onto the 
field. He walked slowly, arms fold- 
ed calmly, as if he had, for the 
moment descended from his own 
world into theirs. Jean didn't see 
him; she had turned her back and 



10 



PHILLIP K. DICK 



was getting ready to pitch. 

"Hey," Dave said, startled. 
"Here's Cris." 

Cris reached his sister, stopped, 
and held out his hand. A great 
dignified figure, calm and impas- 
sive. Uncertainly, Jean gave him 
one of the horseshoes. "You want 
this? You want to play?" 

Cris said nothing. He bent slight- 
ly, a supple arc of his incredibly 
graceful body, then moved his arm 
in a blur of speed. The shoe sailed, 
struck the far peg, and dizzily spun 
around it. Ringer. 

The corners of Dave's mouth 
turned down. "What a lousy darn 
thing." 

"Cris," Jean reproved. "You 
don't play fair." 

No, Cris didn't play fair. He 
had watched half an hour — then 
come out and thrown once. One 
perfect toss, one dead ringer. 

"He never makes a mistake," 
Dave complained. 

Cris stood, face blank. A golden 
statue in the mid-day sun. Golden 
hair, skin, a light down of gold 
fuzz on his bare arms and legs— 

Abruptly he stiflfened. Nat sat up, 
starded. "What is it?" he barked. 

Cris turned in a quick circle, 
magnificent body alert. "Cris!" 
Jean demanded. "What — " 

Cris shot forward. Like a re- 
leased energy beam he bounded 
across the field, over the fence, in- 
to the bam and out the other side. 
His flying figure seemed to skim 
over the dry grass as he descended 
into the barren creek-bed, between 
the cedars. A momentary flash of 
gold — and he was gone. Vanished. 
TluTc was no sound. No motion. 
He had utterly melted into the 



scenery. 

"What was it this time?" Jean 
asked wearily. She came over to 
her father and threw herself down 
in the shade. Sweat glowed on her 
smooth neck and upperlip; her 
sweat shirt was streaked and damp. 
"What did he see?" 

"He was after something," Dave 
stated, coming up. 

Nat grunted. "Maybe. There's no 
telling." 

"I guess I better tell mom not 
set a place for him," Jean said. "He 
probably won't be back." 

Anger and futility descended 
over Nat Johnson. No, he wouldn't 
be back. Not for dinner and proba- 
bly not the next day — or the one 
after that. He'd be gone God only 
knew how long. Or where. Or why. 
OS by himself, alone some place. 
"If I thought there was any use," 
Nat began, "I'd send you two after 
him. But there's no — " 

He broke off. A car was coming 
up the dirt road toward the farm- 
house. A dusty, battered old Buick. 
Behind the wheel sat a plump red- 
faced man in a gray suit, who 
waved cheerfully at them as the 
car sputtered to a stop and the 
motor died into silence. 



AFTERNOON," the man nod- 
, ded, as he climbed out of the 
car. He tipped his hat pleasantly. 
He was middle-aged, genial-look- 
ing, perspiring freely as he crossed 
the dry ground toward the porch. 
"Maybe you folks can help me." 

"What do you want?" Nat John- 
son demanded hoarsely. He was 
frightened. He watched the creek 
bed out of the corner of his eye. 



THE GOLDEN MAN 



11 



praying silently. God, if only he 
stayed away. Jean was breathing 
quickly, sharp little gasps. She was 
terrified. Dave's face was expres- 
sionless, but all color had drained 
from it. "Who are you?" Nat de- 
manded. 

"Name's Baines. George Baines." 
The man held out his hand but 
Johnson ignored it. "Maybe you've 
heard of me. I own the Pacifica 
Development Corporation. We 
built all those little bomb-proof 
houses just outside town. Those 
little round ones you see as you 
come up the main highway from 
Lafayette." 

"What do you want?" Johnson 
held his hands steady with an ef- 
fort. He'd never heard of the man, 
although he'd noticed the housing 
tract. It couldn't be missed — a 
great ant-heap of ugly pill-boxes 
straddling the highway. Baines 
looked like the kind of man who'd 
own them. But what did he want 
here? 

"I've bought some land up this 
way," Baines was explaining. He 
rattled a sheaf of crisp papers. 
"This is the deed, but I'll be 
damned if I can find it." He 
grinned good-naturedly. "I know 
it's around this way, someplace, this 
side of the State road. According 
to the clerk at the County Record- 
er's Office, a mile or so this side 
of that hill over there. But I'm 
no damn good at reading maps." 

"It isn't around here," Dave 
broke in. "There's only farms 
around here. Nothing for sale." 

"This is a farm, son," Baines 
said genially. "I bought it for my- 
self and my missus. So we could 
settle down." He wrinkled his pug 



nose. "Don't get the wrong idea — 
I'm not putting up any tracts 
around here. This is strictly for my- 
self. An old farm house, twenty 
acres, a pump and a few oak 
trees — " 

"Let me see the deed." Johnson 
grabbed the sheaf of papers, and 
while Baines blinked in astonish- 
ment, he leafed rapidly through 
them. His face hardened and he 
handed them back. "What are you 
up to? This deed is for a parcel 
fifty miles from here." 

"Fifty miles!" Baines was dumb- 
founded. "No kidding? But the 
clerk told me — " 

Johnson was on his feet. He 
towered over the fat man. He was 
in top-notch physical shape — and 
he was plenty damn suspicious. 
"Clerk, hell. You get back into 
your car and drive out of here. I 
don't know what you're after, or 
what you're here for, but I want 
you ofiF my land." 

In Johnson's massive fist some- 
thing sparkled. A metal tube that 
gleamed ominously in the mid-day 
sunlight. Baines saw it— and 
gulped. "No offense, mister." He 
backed nervously away. "You folks 
sure are touchy. Take it easy, will 
you?" 

Johnson said nothing. He 
gripped the lash-tube tighter and 
waited for the fat man to leave. 

But Baines lingered. "Look, bud- 
dy. I've been driving around this 
furnace five hours, looking for my 
damn place. Any objection to my 
using your— facilities?" 

Johnson eyed him with suspicion. 
Gradually the suspicion turned to 
disgust. He shrugged. "Dave, show 
him where the bathroom is." 



12 



PHILLIP K. DICK 



"Thanks." Baines grinned thank- 
fully. "And if it wouldn't be too 
much trouble, maybe a glass of 
water. I'd be glad to pay you for 
it." He chuckled knowingly. "Never 
let the city people get away with 
anything, eh?" 

"Christ." Johnson turned away 
in revulsion as the fat man lum-" 
bered after his son, into the house. 

"Dad," Jean whispered. As soon 
as Baines was inside she hurried up 
onto the porch, eyes wide with 
fear. "Dad, do you think he — " 

Johnson put his arm around her. 
"Just hold on tight. He'll be gone, 
soon." 

The girl's dark eyes flashed with 
mute terror. "Every time the man 
from the water company, or the 
tax collector, some tramp, children, 
anybody come around, I get a ter- 
rible stab of pain — here." She 
clutched at her heart, hand against 
her breasts. "It's been that way 
thirteen years. How much longer 
can we keep it going? How long?" 



the mother, gray-haired, small, 
moving toward the sink with a 
glass, face withered and drawn, 
without expression. 

Then Baines hurried from the 
room, down a hall. He passed 
through a bedroom, pulled a door 
open, found himself facing a closet. 
He turned and raced back, through 
the living room, into a dining room, 
then another bedroom. In a brief 
instant he had gone through the 
whole house. 

He peered out a window. The 
back yard. Remains of a rusting 
truck. Entrance of an underground 
bomb shelter. Tin cans. Chickens 
scratching around. A dog, asleep 
under a shed. A couple of old auto 
tires. 

He found a door leading out. 
Soundlessly, he tore the door open 
and stepped outside. No one was 
in sight. There was a barn, a lean- 
ing, ancient wood structure. Cedar 
trees beyond, a creek of some kind. 
What had once been an outhouse. 



THE MAN named Baines 
emerged gratefully from the 
bathroom. Dave Johnson stood si- 
lently by the door, body rigid, 
youthful face stony. 

"Thanks, son," Baines sighed. 
"Now where can I get a glass of 
cold water?" He smacked his thick 
lips in anticipation. "After you've 
been driving around the sticks look- 
ing for a dump some red-hot real 
I'state agent stuck you with — " 

Have headed into the kitchen. 
"Mom, this man wants a drink of 
w.iicr. Dad said he could have it." 

I )ave had turned his back, 
li.iiiics caught a brief glimpse of 



BAINES moved cautiously 
around the side of the house. 
He had perhaps thirty seconds. He 
had left the door of the bathroom 
closed; the boy would think he had 
gone back in there. Baines looked 
into the house through a window. 
A large closet, filled with old cloth- 
ing, boxes and bundles of maga- 
zines. 

He turned and started back. He 
reached the corner of the house 
and started around it. 

Nat Johnson's gaunt shape 
loomed up and blocked his way. 
"All right, Baines. You asked for 
it." 



THE GOLDEN MAN 



13 



A pink flash blossomed. It shut 
out the sunlight in a single blind- 
ing burst. Baines leaped back and 
clawed at his coat pocket. The 
edge of the flash caught him and 
he half-fell, stunned by the force. 
His suit-shield sucked in the energy 
and discharged it, but the power 
ratded his teeth and for a moment 
he jerked like a puppet on a string. 
Darkness ebbed around him. He 
could feel the mesh of the shield 
glow white, as it absorbed the 
energy and fought to control it. 

His own tube came out — and 
Johnson had no shield. "You're 
under arrest," Baines muttered 
grimly. "Put down your tube and 
your hands up. And call your 
family." He made a motion with 
the tube. "Come on, Johnson. 
Make it snappy." 

The lash-tube wavered and then 
slipped from Johnson's fingers. 
"You're still alive." Dawning hor- 
ror crept across his face. "Then 
you must be — " 

Dave and Jean appeared. "Dad!" 

"Come over here," Baines or- 
dered. "Where's your mother?" 

Dave jerked his head numbly. 
"Inside." 

"Get her and bring her here." 

"You're DGA," Nat Johnson 
whispered. 

Baines didn't answer. He was 
doing something with his neck, 
pulling at the flabby flesh. The 
wiring of a contact mike glittered 
as he slipped it from a fold between 
two chins and into his pocket. 
From the dirt road came the sound 
of motors, sleek purrs that rapidly 
grew louder. Two teardrops of 
black metal came gliding up and 
parked beside the house. Men 



swarmed out, in the dark gray- 
green of the Government Civil 
Police. In the sky swarms of black 
dots were descending, clouds of 
ugly flies that darkened the sun 
as they spilled out men and equip- 
ment. The men drifted slowly 
down. 

"He's not here," Baines said, as 
the first man reached him. "He got 
away. Inform Wisdom back at the 
lab." 

"We've got this section blocked 
ofl." 

Baines turned to Nat Johnson, 
who stood in dazed silence, uncom- 
prehending, his son and daughter 
beside him. "How did he know we 
were coming?" Baines demanded. 

"I don't know," Johnson mut- 
tered. "He just — knew." 

"A telepath?" 

"I don't know." 

Baines shrugged. "We'll know, 
soon. A clamp is out, all around 
here. He can't get past, no matter 
what the hell he can do. Unless 
he can dematerialize himself." 

"What'll you do with him when 
you — if you catch him?" Jean 
asked huskily. 

"Study him." 

"And then kill him?" 

"That depends on the lab evalu- 
ation. If you could give me more 
to work on, I could predict bet- 
ter." 

"We can't tell you anything. We 
don't know anything more." The 
girl's voice rose with desperation. 
"He doesn't talk." 

Baines jumped. "What?" 

"He doesn't talk. He never 
talked to us. Ever." 

"How old is he?" 

"Eighteen." 



14 



PHILLIP K. DICK 



"No communication." Baines 
was sweating. "In eighteen years 
there hasn't been any semantic 
bridge between you? Does he have 
any contact? Signs? Codes?" 

"He — ignores us. He eats here, 
stays with us. Sometimes he plays 
when we play. Or sits with us. 
He's gone days on end. We've nev- 
er been able to find out what he's 
dciing — or where. He sleeps in the 
barn — by himself." 

"Is he really gold-colored?'* 

"Yes." 

"Skin, as well as hair?" 

"Skin, eyes, hair, nails. Every- 
thing." 

"And he's large? Well-formed?" 

It was a moment before the girl 
answered. A strange emotion stirred 
her drawn features, a momentary 
glow. "He's incredibly beautiful. A 
god. A god come down to earth." 
Her lips twisted. "You won't find 
him. He can do things. Things you 
have no comprehension of. Powers 
so far beyond your limited — " 

"You don't think we'll get him?" 
Baines frowned. "More teams are 
landing all the time. You've never 
seen an Agency clamp in opera- 
tion. We've had sixty years to work 
out all the bugs. If he gets away 
it'll be the first time—" 

Baines broke off abruptly. Three 
men were quickly approaching the 
porch. Two green-clad Civil Police. 
And a third man between them. A 
man who moved silently, lithely, a 
faintly luminous shape that towered 
above them. 

"Cris!" Jean screamed. 
"We got him," one of the police 
said. 

Baines fingered his lash-tube un- 
easily. "Where? How?" 



"He gave himself up," the police- 
man answered, voice full of awe. 
"He came to us voluntarily. Look 
at him. He's like a metal statue. 
Like some sort of — god." 

The golden figure halted for a 
moment beside Jean. Then it 
turned slowly, calmly, to face 
Baines. 

"Crisl" Jean shrieked. "Why did 
you come back?" 

The same thought was eating at 
Baines, too. He shoved it aside — 
for the time being. "Is the jet out 
front?" he demanded quickly. 

"Ready to go," one of the CP 
answered. 

"Fine." Baines strode past them, 
down the steps and onto the dirt 
field. "Let's go. I want him taken 
directly to the lab." For a moment 
he studied the massive figure who 
stood calmly between the two Civil 
Policemen. Beside him, they seemed 
to have shrunk, become ungainly 
and repellent. Like dwarves. , . 
What had Jean said? A god come 
to earth. Baines broke angrily away. 
"Come on," he muttered brusquely. 
"This one may be tough; we've 
never run up against one like it 
before. We don't know what the 
hell it can do." 



THE CHAMBER was empty, 
except for the seated figure. 
Four bare walls, floor and ceiling. 
A steady glare of white light re- 
lentlessly etched every comer of 
the chamber. Near the top of the 
far wall ran a narrow slot, the 
view windows through which the 
interior of the chamber was 
scanned. 

The seated figure was quiet. He 



THE GOLDEN MAN 



15 



hadn't moved since the chamber 
locks had slid into place, since the 
heavy bolts had fallen from out- 
side and the rows of bright-faced 
technicians had taken their places 
at the view windows. He gazed 
down at the floor, bent forward, 
hands clasped together, face calm, 
almost expressionless. In four hours 
he hadn't moved a muscle. 

"Well?" Baines said. "What have 
you learned?" 

Wisdom grunted sourly. "Not 
much. If we don't have him doped 
out in forty-eight hours we'll go 
ahead with the euth. We can't 
take any chances." 

"You're thinking about theTunis 
type," Baines said. He was, too. 
They had found ten of them, liv- 
ing in the ruins of the abondoned 
North African town. Their sur- 
vival method was simple. They 
killed and absorbed other life 
forms, then imitated them and took 
their places. Chameleons, they were 
called. It had cost sixty lives, be- 
fore the last one was destroyed. 
Sixty top-level experts, highly 
trained DCA men. 

"Any clues?" Baines asked. 

"He's different as hell. This is 
going to be tough." Wisdom 
thumbed a pile of tape-spools. 
"This is the complete report, all 
the material we got from Johnson 
and his family. We pumped them 
with the psych-wash, then let them 
go home. Eighteen years — and no 
semantic bridge. Yet, he looks fully 
developed. Mature at thirteen — a 
shorter, faster life-cycle than ours. 
But why the mane? All the gold 
fuzz? Like a Roman monument 
that's been gilded." 

"Has the report come in from 



the analysis room? You had a 
wave-shot taken, of course." 

"His brain pattern has been fully 
scanned. But it takes time for them 
to plot it out. We're all running 
around like lunatics while he just 
sits there!" Wisdom poked a stubby 
finger at the window. "We caught 
him easily enough. He can't have 
much, can he? But I'd like to 
know what it is. Before we euth 
him." 

"Maybe we should keep him 
alive until we know." 

"Euth in forty-eight hours," 
Wisdom repeated stubbornly. 
"Whether we know or not. I don't 
like him. He gives me the creeps." 

Wisdom stood chewing nervously 
on his cigar, a red-haired, beefy- 
faced man, thick and heavy-set, 
with a barrel chest and cold, 
shrewd eyes deep-set in his hard 
face. Ed Wisdom was Director of 
DCA's North American Branch. 
But right now he was worried. His 
tiny eyes darted back and forth, 
alarmed flickers of gray in his 
brutal, massive face. 

"You think," Baines said slowly, 
"this is it?" 

"I always think so," Wisdom 
snapped. "I have to think so." 

"I mean—" 

"I know what you mean." Wis- 
dom paced back and forth, among 
the study tables, technicians at their 
benches, equipment and humming 
computers. Buzzing tape-slots and 
research hookups. "This thing lived 
eighteen years with his family and 
they don't understand it. They 
don't know what it has. They know 
what it does, but not how." 

"What does it do?" 

"It knows things." 



"What kind of things?" 
Wisdom grabbed his lash-tube 
from his belt and tossed it on a 
table. "Here." 
"What?" 

"Here." Wisdom signalled, and 
a view window was slid back an 
inch. "Shoot him." 

Baines blinked. "You said forty- 
eight hours." 

With a curse, Wisdom snatched 
up the tube, aimed it through the 
window directly at the seated 
figure's back, and squeezed the 
trigger. 

A blinding flash of pink. A cloud 
of energy blossomed in the center 
of the chamber. It sparkled, then 
died into dark ash. 

"Good God!" Baines gasped. 
You—" 

He broke off. The figure was no 
longer sitting. As Wisdom fired, it 
had moved in a blur of speed, 
away from the blast, to the corner 
of the chamber. Now it was slowly 
coming back, face blank, still ab- 
sorbed in thought. 

"Fifth time," Wisdom said, as he 
put his tube away. "Last time Jami- 
son and I fired together. Missed. 
He knew exactly when the bolts 
would hit. And where." 

Baines and Wisdom looked at 
each other. Both of them were 
thinking the same thing. "But even 
reading minds wouldn't tell him 
where they were going, to hit," 
Baines said. "When, maybe. But 
not where. Could you have called 
your own shots?" 

"Not mine," Wisdom answered 
flatly. "I fired fast, damn near at 
random." He frowned. "Random. 
We'll have to make a test of this." 
lie waved a group of technicians 



PHILLIP K. DICK 

over. "Get a construction team up 
here. On the double." He grabbed 
paper and pen and began sketch- 
ing. 



WHILE construction was going 
on, Baines met his fiancee 
in the lobby outside the lab, the 
great central lounge of the DCA 
Building. 

"How's it coming?" she asked. 
Anita Ferris was tall and blonde, 
blue eyes and a mature, carefully 
cultivated figure. An attractive, 
competent-looking woman in her 
late twenties. She wore a metal foil 
dress and cape— with a red and 
black stripe on the sleeve, the em- 
blem of the A-Class. Anita was 
Director of the Semantics Agency, 
a top-level Government Coordi- 
nator. "Anything of interest, this 
time?" 

"Plenty." Baines guided her from 
the lobby, into the dim recess of 
the bar. Music played softly in the 
background, a shifting variety of 
patterns formed mathematically. 
Dim shapes moved expertly 
through the gloom, from table to 
table. Silent, efiicient robot waiters. 

As Anita sipped her Tom Col- 
lins, Baines outlined what they had 
found. 

"What are the chances," Anita 
asked slowly, "that he's built up 
some kind of deflection-cone? 
There was one kind that warped 
their environment by direct mental 
effort. No tools. Direct mind to 
matter." 

"Psychokinetics?" Baines drum- 
med restlessly on the table top. "I 
doubt it. The thing has ability to 
predict, not to control. He can't 



THE GOLDEN MAN 



17 



stop the beams, but he can sure as 
hell get out of the way." 

"Does he jump between the 
molecules?" 

Baines wasn't amused. "This Is 
serious. We've handled these things 
sixty years — longer than you and I 
have been around added together. 
Eighty-seven types of deviants 
have shown up, real mutants that 
could reproduce themselves, not 
mere freaks. This is the eighty- 
eighth. We've been able to handle 
each of them in turn. But this — " 

"Why are you so worried about 
this one?" 

"First, it's eighteen years old. 
That in itself is incredible. Its 
family managed to hide it that 
long." 

"Those women around Denver 
were older than that. Those ones 
with—" 

"They were in a Government 
camp. Somebody high up was toy- 
ing with the idea of allowing them 
to breed. Some sort of industrial 
use. We withheld euth for years. 
But Oris Johnson stayed alive out- 
side our control. Those things at 
Denver were under constant scru- 
tiny." 

"Maybe he's harmless. You al- 
ways assume a deeve is a menace. 
He might even be beneficial. Some- 
body thought those women might 
work in. Maybe this thing has 
something that would advance the 
race." 

"Which race? Not the human 
race. It's the old 'the operation was 
a success but the patient died' 
routine. If we introduce a mutant 
to keep us going it'll be mutants, 
not us, who'll inherit the earth. It'll 
be mutants surviving for their own 



sake. Don't think for a moment 
we can put padlocks on them and 
expect them to serve us. If they're 
really superior to homo sapiens, 
they'll win out in even competition. 
To survive, we've got to cold-deck 
them right from the start." 

"In other words, we'll know 
homo superior when he comes — 
by definition. He'll be the one we 
won't be able to euth." ■• 

"That's about it," Baines an- 
swered. "Assuming there is a homo 
superior. Maybe there's just homo 
peculiar. Homo with an improved 
line." 

"The Neanderthal probably 
thought the Cro-Magnon man had 
merely an improved line. A little 
more advanced ability to conjure 
up symbols and shape flint. From 
your description, this thing is more 
radical than a mere improvement." 

"This thing," Baines said slowly, 
"has an ability to predict. So far, 
it's been able to stay alive. It's been 
able to cope with situations better 
than you or I could. How long do 
you think we'd stay alive in that 
chamber, with energy beams blaz- 
ing down at us? In a sense it's got 
the ultimate survival ability. If it 
can always be accurate — -" 

A wall-speaker sounded. "Baines, 
you're wanted in the lab. Get the 
hell out of the bar and upramp." 

Baines pushed back his chair and 
got to his feet. "Come along. You 
may be interested in seeing what 
Wisdom has got dreamed up." 



A TIGHT GROUP of top-level 
DCA officials stood around 
in a circle, middle-aged, gray- 
haired, Ustening to a skirmy youth 



18 



PHILLIP K. DICK 



in a white shirt and rolled-up 
sleeves explaining an elaborate cube 
of metal and plastic that filled the 
center of the view-platform. From 
it jutted an ugly array of tube 
snouts, gleaming muzzles that dis- 
appeared into an intricate maze 
of wiring. 

"This," the youth was saying 
briskly, "is the first real test. It fires 
at random — as nearly random as 
we can make it, at least. Weighted 
balls are thrown up in an air 
stream, then dropped free to fall 
back and cut relays. They can fall 
in almost any pattern. The thing 
fires according to their pattern. 
Each drop produces a new con- 
figuration of timing and position. 
Ten tubes, in all. Each will be in 
constant motion." 

"And nobody knows how they'll 
fire?" Anita asked. 

"Nobody." Wisdom rubbed his 
thick hands together. "Mind-read- 
ing won't help him, not with this 
thing." 

Anita moved over to the view 
windows, as the cube was rolled in- 
to place. She gasped. "Is that 
him?" 

"What's wrong?" Baines asked. 

Anita's cheeks were flushed. 
"Why, I expected a — a thing. My 
God, he's beautiful! Like a golden 
statue. Like a deity!" 

Baines laughed. "He's eighteen 
years old, Anita. Too young for 
you." 

The woman was still peering 
through the view window. "Look 
at him. Eighteen? I don't believe 
it." 

Cris Johnson sat in the center 
of the chamber, on the floor. A 
|j(/sture of contemplation, head 



bowed, arms folded, legs tucked 
under him. In the stark glare of 
the overhead lights his powerful 
body glowed and rippled, a shim- 
mering figure of downy gold. 

"Pretty, isn't he?" Wisdom mut- 
tered. "All right. Start it going." 

"You're going to kill him?" Anita 
demanded. 

"We're going to try." 

"But he's — " She broke off un- 
certainly. "He's not a monster. He's 
not like those others, those hideous 
things with two heads, or those 
insects. Or those awful things from 
Tunis." 

"What is he, then?" Baines 
asked. 

"I don't know. But you can't 
just kill him. It's terrible!" 

The cube clicked into life. The 
muzzles jerked, silently altered 
position. Three retracted, disap- 
peared into the body of the cube. 
Others came out. Quickly, effi- 
ciently, they moved into position — 
and abruptly, without warning, 
opened fire. 

A staggering burst of energy 
fanned out, a complex pattern that 
altered each moment, different 
angles, different velocities, a bewil- 
dering blur that cracked from the 
windows down Into the chamber. 

The golden figure moved. He 
dodged back and forth, expertly 
avoiding the bursts of energy that 
seared around him on all sides. 
Rolling clouds of ash obscured him; 
he was lost in a mist of crackling 
fire and ash. 

"Stop it!" Anita shouted. "For 
God's sake, you'll destroy him!" 

The chamber was an inferno of 
energy. The figure had completely 
disappeared. Wisdom waited a mo- 



THE GOLDEN MAN 



19 



ment, then nodded to the tech- 
nicians operating the cube. They 
touched guide buttons and the 
muzzles slowed and died. Some 
sank back into the cube. All be- 
came silent. The works of the 
cube ceased humming. 

Oris Johnson was still alive. He 
emerged from the settling clouds 
of ash, blackened and singed. But 
imhurt. He had avoided each 
beam. He had weaved between 
them and among them as they 
came, a dancer leaping over glitter- 
ing sword-points of pink fire. He 
had survived. 

"No," Wisdom murmured, shaken 
and grim. "Not a telepath. Those 
were at random. No prearranged 
pattern." 



THE THREE of them looked at 
each other, dazed and fright- 
ened. Anita was trembling. Her 
face was pale and her blue eyes 
were wide. "What, then?" She 
whispered. "What is it? What does 
he have?" 

"He's a good guesser," Wisdom 
suggested. 

"He's not guessing," Baines an- 
swered. "Don't kid yourself. That's 
the whole point." 

"No, he's not guessing." Wisdom 
nodded slowly. "He knew. He pre- 
dicted each strike. I wonder. . . 
Can he err? Can he make a mis- 
take?" 

"We caught him," Baines 
pointed out. 

"You said he came back volim- 
tarily." There was a strange look 
on Wisdom's face. "Did he come 
back after the clamp was up?" 

Baines jumped. "Yes, after." 



"He couldn't have got through 
the clamp. So he came back." Wis- 
dom grinned wryly. "The clamp 
must actually have been perfect. It 
was supposed to be." 

"If there had been a single hole," 
Baines murmured, "he would have 
known it — gone through." 

Wisdom ordered a group of 
armed guards over. "Get him out 
of there. To the euth stage." 

Anita shrieked. "Wisdom, you 
can't—" 

"He's too far ahead of us. We 
can't compete with him." Wisdom's 
eyes were bleak. "We can only 
guess what's going to happen. He 
knows. For him, it's a sure thing. 
I don't think it'll help him at euth, 
though. The whole stage is flooded 
simultaneously. Instantaneous gas, 
released throughout." He signalled 
impatiently to the guards. "Get go- 
ing. Take him down right away. 
Don't waste any time." 

"Can we?" Baines murmured 
thoughtfully. 

The guards took up positions by 
one of the chamber locks. Cau- 
tiously, the tower control slid the 
lock back. The first two guards 
stepped cautiously in, lash-tubes 
ready. 

Oris stood in the center of the 
chamber. His back was to them as 
they crept toward him. For a mo- 
ment he was silent, utterly unmov- 
ing. The guards fanned out, as 
more of them entered the chamber. 
Then — 

Anita screamed. Wisdom cursed. 
The golden figure spun and leaped 
forward, in a flashing blur of speed. 
Past the triple line of guards, 
through the lock and into the cor- 
ridor. 



20 

"Get him!" Balnes shouted. 
Guards milled everywhere. 
Flashes of energy lit up the cor- 
ridor, as the figure raced among 
them, up the ramp. 

"No use," Wisdom said calmly. 
"We can't hit him." He touched a 
button, then another. "But maybe 
this will help." 

"What—" Baines began. But the 
leaping figure shot abruptly at him, 
straight at him, and he dropped to 
one side. The figure flashed past. 
It ran effortlessly, face without ex- 
pression, dodging and jumping as 
the energy beams seared around it. 
For an instant the golden face 
loomed up before Baines. It passed 
and disappeared down a side cor- 
ridor. Guards rushed after it, kneel- 
ing and firing, shouting orders ex- 
citedly. In the bowels of the build- 
ing, heavy guns were rumbling up. 
Locks slid into place as escape cor- 
ridors were systematically sealed 
off. 

"Good God," Baines gasped, as 
he got to his feet. "Can't he do 
anything but run?" 

"I gave orders," Wisdom said, 
"to have the building isolated. 
There's no way out. Nobody comes 
and nobody goes. He's loose here 
in the building — ^but he won't get 
out." 

"If there's one exit overlooked, 
he'll know it," Anita pointed out 
shakily. 

"We won't overlook any exit. We 
got him once; we'll get him again." 
A messenger robot had come in. 
Now it presented its message re- 
spectfully to Wisdom. "From analy- 
sis, sir." 

Wisdom tore the tape open. 
"Now we'll know how it thiiiks." 



PHILLIP K. DICK 

His hands were shaking. "Maybe 
we can figure out its blind spot. It 
may be able to out think us, but 
that doesn't mean it's invulnerable. 
It only predicts the future — it can't 
change it. If there's only death 
ahead, its ability won't. . .'' 

Wisdom's voice faded into si- 
lence. After a moment he passed 
the tape to Baines. 

"I'll be down in the bar," Wis- 
dom said. "Getting a good stiff 
drink." His face had turned lead- 
gray. "All I can say is / hope to hell 
this isn't the race to come." 

"What's the analysis?" Anita de- 
manded impatiently, peering over 
Baines' shoulder. "How does it 
think?" 

"It doesn't," Baines said, as he 
handed the tape back to his boss. 
"It doesn't think at all. Virtually 
no frontal lobe. It's not a human 
being — it doesn't use symbols. It's 
nothing but an animal." 

"An animal," Wisdom said. 
"With a single highly-developed 
faculty. Not a superior man. Not 
a man at all." 



UP AND DOWN the corridors 
of the DCA Building, guards 
and equipment clanged. Loads of 
Civil Police were pouring into the 
building and taking up positions 
beside the guards. One by one, 
the corridors and rooms were be- 
ing inspected and sealed off. Sooner 
or later the golden figure of Oris 
Johnson would be located and 
cornered. 

"We were always afraid a mu- 
tant with superior intellectual 
powers would come along," Baines 
said reflectively. "A deeve who 



THE GOLDEN MAN 



21 



would be to us what we are to the 
great apes. Something with a bulg- 
ing cranium, telepathic ability, a 
perfect semantic system, ultimate 
powers of symbolization and cal- 
culation. A development along our 
own path. A better human being." 

"He acts by reflex," Anita said 
wonderingly. She had the analysis 
and was sitting at one of the desks 
studying it intently. "Reflex — like 
a lion. A golden lion." She pushed 
the tape aside, a strange expression 
on her face. "The lion god." 

"Beast," Wisdom corrected tart- 
ly. "Blond beast, you mean." 

"He runs fast," Baines said, "and 
that's all. No tools. He doesn't build 
anything or utilize anything out- 
side himself. He just stands and 
waits for the right opportunity and 
then he runs like hell." 

"This is worse than anything 
we've anticipated," Wisdom said. 
His beefy face was lead-gray. He 
sagged like an old man, his blunt 
hands trembling and uncertain. 
"To be replaced by an animal! 
Something that runs and hides. 
Something without a language!" 
He spat savagely. "That's why they 
weren't able to communicate with 
it. We wondered what kind of 
semantic system it had. It hasn't 
got any! No more ability to talk 
and think than a — dog." 

"That means intelligence has 
failed," Baines went on huskily. 
"We're the last of our line — ^like 
the dinosaur. We've carried intel- 
ligence as far as it'll go. Too far, 
maybe. We've already got to the 
point where we know so much — 
think so much — we can't act." 

"Men of thought," Anita said. 
"Not men of action. It's begun to 



have a paralyzing effect. But this 
thing—" 

"This thing's faculty works bet- 
ter than ours ever did. We can re- 
call past experiences, keep them 
in mind, learn from them. At best, 
we can make shrewd guesses about 
the future, from our memory of 
what's happened in the past. But 
we can't be certain. We have to 
speak of probabilities. Grays. Not 
blacks and whites. We're only 
guessing." 

"Oris Johnson isn't guessing," 
Anita added. 

"He can look ahead. See what's 
coming. He can — prethink. Let's 
call it that. He can see into the 
future. Probably he doesn't per- 
ceive it as the future." 

"No," Anita said thoughtfully. 
"It would seem like the present. 
He has a broader present. But his 
present lies ahead, not back. Our 
present is related to the past. Only 
the past is certain, to us. To him, the 
future is certain. And he probably 
doesn't remember the past, any 
more than any animal remembers 
what's happened." 

"As he develops," Baines said, 
"as his race evolves, it'll probably 
expand its ability to prethink. In- 
stead of ten minutes, thirty minutes. 
Then an hour. A day. A year. 
Eventually they'll be able to keep 
ahead a whole lifetime. Each one 
of them will live in a solid, un- 
changing world. There'll be no 
variables, no uncertainty. No mo- 
tion! They won't have anything to 
fear. Their world will be perfectly 
static, a solid block of matter. 

"And when death comes," Anita 
said, "they'll accept it. There won't 
be any struggle; to them, it'll al- 



22 



PHILLIP K. DICK 



ready have happened." 

"Already have happened," Baines 
repeated. "To Cris, our shots had 
already been fired." He laughed 
harshly. "Superior survival doesn't 
mean superior man. If there were 
another world-wide flood, only fish 
would survive. If there were anoth- 
er ice age, maybe nothing but polar 
bears would be left. When we 
opened the lock, he had already 
seen the men, seen exactly where 
they were standing and what they'd 
do. A neat faculty — but not a de- 
velopment of mind. A pure physical 
sense." 

"But if every exit is covered," 
Wisdom repeated, "he'll see he 
can't get out. He gave himself up 
before — he'll give himself up 
again." He shook his head. "An 
animal. Without language. With- 
out tools." 

"With his new sense," Baines 
said, "he doesn't need anything 
else." He examined his watch. "It's 
after two. Is the building com- 
pletely sealed off?" 

"You can't leave," Wisdom 
stated. "You'll have to stay here all 
night — or until we catch the bas- 
tard." 

"I meant her." Baines indicated 
Anita. "She's supposed to be back 
at Semantics by seven in the morn- 
ing." 

Wisdom shrugged. "I have no 
control over her. If she wants, 
she can check out." 

"I'll stay," Anita decided. "I 
want to be here when he — when 
he's destroyed. I'll sleep here." She 
hesitated. "Wisdom, isn't there 
some other way? If he's just an 
animal couldn't we — " 

"A zoo?" Wisdom's voice rose in 



a frenzy of hysteria. "Keep it 
penned up in the zoo? Christ no! 
It's got to be killed!" 



FOR A LONG time the great 
gleaming shape crouched in 
the darkness. He was in a store 
room. Boxes and cartons stretched 
out on all sides, heaped up in 
orderly rows, all neatly counted 
and marked. Silent and deserted. 

But in a few moments people 
burst in and search the room. He 
could see this. He saw them in all 
parts of the room, clear and dis- 
tinct, men with lash-tubes, grim- 
faced, stalking with murder in their 
eyes. 

The sight was one of many. One 
of a multitude of clearly-etched 
scenes lying tangent to his own. 
And to each was attached a further 
multitude of interlocking scenes, 
that finally grew hazier and dwin- 
dled away. A progressive vague- 
ness, each syndrome less distinct. 

But the immediate one, the 
scene that lay closest to him, was 
clearly visible. He could easily 
make out the sight of the armed 
men. Therefore it was necessary 
to be out of the room before they 
appeared. 

The golden figure got calmly to 
its feet and moved to the door. The 
corridor was empty; he could see 
himself already outside, in the va- 
cant, drumming hall of metal and 
recessed lights. He pushed the door 
boldly open and stepped out. 

A lift bhnked across the hall. He 
walked to the lift and entered it. 
In five minutes a group of guards 
would come running along and 
leap into the lift. By that time he 



THE GOLDEN MAN 



23 



would have left it and sent it back 
down. Now he pressed a button 
and rose to the next floor. 

He stepped out into a deserted 
passage. No one was in sight. That 
didn't surprise him. He couldn't 
be surprised. The element didn't 
exist for him. The positions of 
things, the space relationships of 
all matter in the immediate future, 
were as certain for him as his own 
body. The only thing that was un- 
known was that which had already 
passed out of being. In a vague, 
dim fashion, he had occasionally 
wondered where things went after 
he had passed them. 

He came to a small supply closet. 
It had just been searched. It would 
be a half an hour before anyone 
opened it again. He had that long; 
he could see that far ahead. And 
then — 

And then he would be able to see 
another area, a region farther be- 
yond. He was always moving, ad- 
vancing into new regions he had 
never seen before. A constantly un- 
folding panorama of sights and 
scenes, frozen landscapes spread out 
ahead. All objects were fixed. 
Pieces on a vast chess board 
through which he moved, arms 
folded, face calm. A detached ob- 
server who saw objects that lay 
ahead of him as clearly as those 
under foot. 

Right now, as he crouched in the 
small supply closet, he saw an un- 
usually varied multitude of scenes 
for the next half hour. Much lay 
ahead. The half hour was divided 
into an incredibly complex pattern 
of separate configurations. He had 
reached a critical region; he was 
about to move through worlds of 



intricate complexity. 

He concentrated on a scene ten 
minutes away. It showed, like a 
three dimensional still, a heavy gun 
at the end of the corridor, trained 
all the way to the far end. Men 
moved cautiously from door to 
door, checking each room again, as 
they had done repeatedly. At the 
end of the half hour they had 
reached the supply closet. A scene 
showed them looking inside. By that 
time he was gone, of course. He 
wasn't in that scene. He had passed 
on to another. 

The next scene showed an exit. 
Guards stood in a solid line. No 
way out. He was in that scene. Off 
to one side, in a niche just inside 
the door. The street outside was 
visible, stars, lights, outlines of pass- 
ing cars and people. 

In the next tableau he had gone 
back, away from the exit. There 
was no way out. In another tab- 
leau he saw himself at other exits, 
a legion of golden figures, dupli- 
cated again and again, as he ex- 
plored regions ahead, one after 
another. But each exit was covered. 

In one dim scene he saw himself 
lying charred and dead; he had 
tried to run through the line, out 
the exit. 

But that scene was vague. One 
wavering, indistinct still out of 
many. The inflexible path along 
which he moved would not deviate 
in that direction. It would not turn 
him that way. The golden figure 
in that scene, the miniature doll 
in that room, was only distantly re- 
lated to him. It was himself, but a 
far-away self. A self he would 
never meet. He forgot it and went 
on to examine the other tableau. 



24 



PHILLIP K. DICK 



The myriad of tableaux that sur- 
rounded him were an elaborate 
maze, a web which he now con- 
sidered bit by bit. He was looking 
down into a doll's house of in- 
finite rooms, rooms without num- 
ber, each with its furniture, its 
dolls, all rigid and unmoving. The 
same dolls and furniture were re- 
peated in many. He, himself, ap- 
peared ofteii. The two men on the 
platform. The woman. Again and 
again the same combinations 
turned up; the play was redone 
frequently, the same actors and 
props moved around in all possible 
ways. 

Before it was time to leave the 
supply closet, Cris Johnson had ex- 
amined each of the rooms tangent 
to the one he now occupied. He 
had consulted each, considered its 
contents thoroughly. 

He pushed the door open and 
stepped calmly out into the hall. 
He knew exactly where he was go- 
ing. And what he had to do. 
Crouched in the stuffy closet, he 
had quietly and expertly examined 
each miniature of himself, observed 
which clearly-etched configuration 
lay along his inflexible path, the 
one room of the doll house, the 
one set out of legions, toward 
which he was moving. 



ANITA slipped out of h'er metal- 
foil dress, hung it over a 
hanger, then unfastened her shoes 
and kicked them under the bed. 
She was just starting to unclip her 
bra when the door opened. 

She gasped. Soundlessly, calmly, 
ill I I.] cat golden shape closed the 
door and bolted it after him. 



Anita snatched up her lash-tube 
from the dressing table. Her hand 
shook; her whole body was trem- 
bling. "What do you want?" she 
demanded. Her fingers tightened 
convulsively around the tube. "I'll 
kill you." 

The figure regarded her silently, 
arms folded. It was the first time 
she had seen Cris Johnson closely. 
The great dignified face, hand- 
some and impassive. Broad shoul- 
ders. The golden mane of hair, 
golden skin, pelt of radiant fuzz — 

"Why?" she demanded breath- 
lessly. Her heart was pounding 
wildly. "What do you want?" 

She could kill him easily. But 
the lash-tube wavered. Cris John- 
son stood without fear; he wasn't 
at all afraid. Why not? Didn't he 
understand what it was? What the 
small metal tube could do to him? 

"Of course," she said suddenly, 
in a choked whisper. "You can 
see ahead. You know I'm not go- 
ing to kill you. Or you wouldn't 
have come here." 

She flushed, terrified — and em- 
barrassed. He knew exactly what 
she was going to do; he could see 
it as easily as she saw the walls of 
the room, the wall-bed with its 
covers folded neatly back, her 
clothes hanging in the closet, her 
purse and small things on the 
dressing table. 

"All right." Anita backed away, 
then abruptly put the tube down 
on the dressing table. "I won't kill 
you. Why should I?" she fumbled 
in her purse and got out her cigar- 
ettes. Shakily, she lit up, her pulse 
racing. She was scared. And 
strangely fascinated. "Do you ex- 
pect to stay here? It won't do any 



THE GOLDEN MAN 



25 



good. They've come through the 
dorm twice, already. They'll be 
back." 

Could he understand her? She 
saw nothing on his face, only blank 
dignity. God, he was huge! It 
wasn't possible he was only eight- 
een, a boy, a child. He looked 
more like some great golden god, 
come down to earth. 

She shook the thought off savage- 
ly. He wasn't a god. He was a beast. 
The blond beast, come to take the 
place of man. To drive man from 
the earth. 

Anita snatched up the lash-tube. 
"Get out of here! You're an ani- 
mal! A big stupid animal! You 
can't even understand what I'm 
saying— you don't even have a 
language. You're not human." 

Oris Johnson remained silent. As 
if he were waiting. Waiting for 
what? He showed no sign of fear 
or impatience, even though the cor- 
ridor outside rang with the sound 
of men searching, metal against 
metal, guns and energy tubes be- 
ing dragged around, shouts and 
dim rumbles as section after section 
of the building was searched and 
sealed off. 

"They'll get you," Anita said. 
"You'll be trapped here. They'll be 
searching this wing any moment." 
She savagely stubbed out her ciga- 
rette out. "For God's sake, what do 
you expect me to do?" 

Cris moved toward her. Anita 
shrank back. His powerful hands 
caught hold of her and she gasped 
in sudden terror. For a moment 
she struggled blindly, desperately. 

"Let go!" She broke away and 
leaped back from him. His face 
was expressionless. Calmly, he came 



toward her, an impassive god ad- 
vancing to take her. "Get away!" 
She groped for the lash-tube, try- 
ing to get it up. But the tube 
slipped from her fingers and rolled 
onto the floor. 

Cris bent down and picked it up. 
He held it out to her, in the open 
palm of his hand. 

"Good God," Anita whispered. 
Shakily, she accepted the tube, 
gripped it hesitantly, then put it 
down again on the dressing table. 

In the half-light of the room, 
the great golden figure seemed to 
glow and shimmer, outlined against 
the darkness. A god — no, not a 
god. An animal. A great golden 
beast, without a soul. She was 
confused. Which was he — or was 
he both? She shook her head, be- 
wildered. It was late, almost four. 
She was exhausted and confused. 

Cris took her in his arms. Gently, 
kindly, he lifted her face and kissed 
her. His powerful hands held her 
tight. She couldn't breathe. Dark- 
ness, mixed with the shimmering 
golden haze, swept around her. 
Around and around it spiralled, 
carrying her senses away. She sank 
down into it gratefully. The dark- 
ness covered her and dissolved her 
in a swelling torrent of sheer force 
that mounted in intensity each mo- 
ment, until the roar of it beat 
against her and at last blotted out 
everything. 



ANITA blinked. She sat up and 
automatically pushed her hair 
into place. Cris was standing be- 
fore the closet. He was reaching 
up, getting something down. 
He turned toward her and tossed 



26 



PHILLIP K. DICK 



something on the bed. Her heavy 
metal foil traveling cape. 

Anita gazed down at the capft 
without comprehension. "What do 
you want?" 

Oris stood by the bed, waiting. 

She picked up the cape uncer- 
tainly. Gold creepers of fear 
plucked at her. "You want me to 
get you out of here," she said 
softly. "Past the guards and the 
CP." 

Cris said nothing. 

"They'll kill you instantly." She 
got unsteadily to her feet. "You 
can't run past them. Good God, 
don't you do anything but run? 
There must be a better way. May- 
be I can appeal to Wisdom. I'm 
Glass A — Director Class. I can go 
directly to the Full Directorate. I 
ought to be able to hold them off, 
keep back the euth indefinitely. 
The odds are a billion to one 
against us if we try to break 
past—" 

She broke off. 

"But you don't gamble," she con- 
tinued slowly. "You don't go by 
odds. You know what's coming. 
You've seen the cards already." 
She studied his face intently. "No, 
you can't be cold-decked. It 
wouldn't be possible." 

For a moment she stood deep in 
thought. Then with a quick, de- 
cisive motion, she snatched up the 
cloak and slipped it around her 
bare shoulders. She fastened the 
heavy belt, bent down and got her 
shoes from under the bed, snatched 
up her purse, and hurried to the 
door. 

"Come on," she said .She was 
breathing quickly, cheeks flushed. 
"Let's go. WhDe there are still a 



number of exits to choose from. 
My car Is parked outside, in the lot 
at the side of the building. We can 
get to my place in an hour. I have 
a winter home in Argentina. If 
worst comes to worst we can fly 
there. It's in the back country, 
away from the cities. Jungle and 
swamps. Cut-off from almost every- 
thing." Eagerly, she started to open 
the door. 

Cris reached out and stopped 
her. Gently, patiently, he moved 
in front of her. 

He waited a long time, body 
rigid. Then he turned the knob 
and stepped boldly out into the 
corridor. 

The corridor was empty. No one 
was in sight. Anita caught a faint 
glimpse, the back of a guard hur- 
rying off. If they had come out 
a second earlier — 

Cris started down the corridor. 
She ran after him. He moved 
rapidly, effortlessly. The girl had 
trouble keeping up with him. He 
seemed to know exactly where to 
go. Off to the right, down a side 
hall, a supply passage. Onto an 
ascent freight-lift. They rose, then 
abruptly halted. 

Cris waited again. Presently he 
slid the door back and moved out 
of the lift. Anita followed nervous- 
ly. She could hear sounds: guns 
and men, very close. 

They were near an exit. A double 
line of guards stood directly ahead. 
Twenty men, a solid wall — and a 
massive heavy-duty robot gun in 
the center. The men were alert, 
faces strained and tense. Watching 
wide-eyed, guns gripped tight. A 
Civil Police officer was in charge. 

"We'll never get past," Anita 



THE GOLDEN AAAN 



27 



gasped. "We wouldn't get ten feet." 
She pulled back. "They'U— " 

Cris took her by the arm and 
continued calmly forward. Blind 
terror leaped inside her. She fought 
wildly to get away, but his fingers 
were like steel. She couldn't pry 
them loose. Quietly, irresistibly, the 
great golden creature drew her 
along beside him, toward the 
double line of guards. 

"There he is!" Guns went up. 
Men leaped into action. The barrel 
of the robot cannon swung around. 
"Get him!" 

Anita was paralyzed. She sa^ed 
against the powerful body beside 
her, tugged along helplessly by his 
inflexible grasp. The lines of guards 
came nearer, a sheer wall of guns. 
Anita fought to control her terror. 
She stumbled, half-fell. Cris sup- 
ported her effortlessly. She scratch- 
ed, fought at him, struggled to get 
loose — 

"Don't shoot!" she screamed. 

Guns wavered uncertainly. "Who 
is she?" The guards were moving 
around, trying to get a sight on 
Oris without including her. "Who's 
he got there?" 

One of them saw the stripe on 
her sleeve. Red and black. Director 
Class. Top-level. 

"She's Class A." Shocked, the 
guards retreated. "Miss, get out of 
the way!" 

Anita found her voice. "Don't 
shoot. He's — in my custody. You 
understand? I'm taking him out." 

The wall of guards moved back 
nervously. "No one's supposed to 
pass. Director Wisdom gave or- 
ders—" 

"I'm not subject to Wisdom's 
authority." She managed to edge 



her voice with a harsh crispness. 
"Get out of the way. I'm taking 
him to the Semantics Agency." 

For a moment nothing happened. 
There was no reactien. Then slow- 
ly, uncertainly, one guard stepped 
aside. 

Cris moved. A blur of speed, 
away from Anita, past the con- 
fused guards, through the breach 
in the line, out the exit, and onto 
the street. Bursts of energy flashed 
wildly after him. Shouting guards 
milled out. Anita was left behind, 
forgotten. The guards, the heavy- 
duty gun, were pouring out into 
the early morning darkness. Sirens 
wailed. Patrol cars roared into life. 

Anita stood dazed, confused, 
leaning against the wall, trying to 
get her breath. 

He was gone. He had left her. 
Good God — what had she done? 
She shook her head, bewildered, 
her face buried in her hands. She 
had been hypnotized. She had lost 
her win, her common sense. Her 
reason! The animal, the great 
golden beast, had tricked her. 
Taken advantage of her. And now 
he was gone, escaped into the 
night. 

Miserable, agonized tears trickled 
through her clenched fingers. She 
rubbed at them futilely; but they 
kept on coming. 



HE'S GONE,"Baines said. "We'll 
never get him, now. He's prob- 
ably a million miles from here." 

Anita sat huddled in the cor- 
ner, her face to the wall. A litde 
bent heap, broken and wretched. 
Wisdom paced back and forth. 
"But where can he go? Where 



28 



PHILLIP K. DICK 



can he hide? Nobody'U hide him! 
Everybody knows the law about 
dceves!" 

"He's lived out in the woods 
most of his life. He'll hunt— that's 
what he's always done. They won- 
dered what he was up to, off by 
himself. He was catching game and 
sleeping under trees." Baines 
laughed harshly. "And the first 
woman he meets will be glad to 
hide him — as she was." He indi- 
cated Anita with a jerk of his 
thumb. 

"So all that gold, that mane, that 
god-like stance, was for something. 
Not just ornament." Wisdom's 
thick lips twisted. "He doesn't have 
just one faculty — ^he has two. One 
is new, the newest thing in sur- 
vival methods. The other is as old 
as life." He stopped pacing to 
glare at the huddled shape in the 
corner. "Plumage. Bright feathers, 
combs for the roosters swans, 
birds, bright scales for the fish. 
Gleaming pelts and manes for the 
animals. An animal isn't necessarily 
bestial. Lions aren't bestial. Or 
tigers. Or any of the big cats. 
They're anything but bestial." 

"He'll never have to worry," 
Baines said. "He'll get by — as long 
as human women exist to take care 
of him. And since he can see ahead, 
into the future, he already knows 
he's sexually irresistible to human 
females." 

"We'll get him," Wisdom mut- 



tered. "I've had the Government 
declare an emergency. Military and 
Civil Police will be looking for 
him. Armies of men — a whole 
planet of experts, the most ad- 
vanced machines and equipment. 
We'll flush him, sooner or later." 

"By that time it won't make any 
difference," Baines said. He put his 
hand on Anita's shoulder and 
patted her ironically. "You'll have 
company, sweetheart. You won't be 
the only one. You're just the first 
of a long procession." 

"Thanks," Anita grated. 

"The oldest survival method and 
the newest. Combined to form one 
perfectly adapted animal. How the 
hell are we going to stop him? We 
can put you through a sterilization 
tank — but we can't pick them all 
up, all the women he meets along 
the way. And if we miss one we're 
finished." 

"We'll have to keep trying," 
Wisdom said. "Round up as many 
as we can. Before they can spawn." 
Faint hope glinted in his tired, 
sagging face. "Maybe his charac- 
teristics are recessive. Maybe ours 
will cancel his out." 

"I wouldn't lay any money on 
that," Baines said. "I think I know 
already which of the two strains is 
going to turn up dominant." He 
grinned wryly. "I mean, I'm mak- 
ing a good guess. It won't be us." 

• • • THE END 



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Breeder Heactioii 



By Winston Marks 



Illustrated by Kelly Freas 



THE ADVERTISING game is 
not as cut and dried as many 
people think. Sometimes you spend 
a million dollars and get no results, 
and then some little low-budget 
campaign will catch the public's 
fancy and walk away with mer- 
chandising honors of the year. 

Let me sound a warning, how- 
ever. When this happens, watch 
out! There's always a reason for it, 
and it isn't always just a matter of 
bright slogans and semantic genius. 
Sometimes the product itself does 
the trick. And when this happens 
people in the industry lose their 
heads trying to capitalize on the 
"freak" good fortune. 

This can lead to disaster. May 
I cite one example? 

I was on loan to Elaine Temple- 
ton, Inc., the big cosmetics &in, 



when one of these "prairie fires" 
took off and, as product engineer 
from the firm of Bailey Hazlitt & 
Persons, Advertising Agency, I fig- 
ured I had struck pure gold. My 
assay was wrong. It was fool's gold 
on a pool of quicksand. 

Madame "Elaine", herself, had 
called me in for consultation on a 
huge lipstick campaign she was 
planning — you know, NOW AT 
LAST, A TRULY KISS-PROOF 
LIPSTICK!— the sort of thing they 
pull every so often to get the 
ladies to chuck their old lip-goo 
and invest in the current dream of 
non-smearability. It's an old gim- 
mick, and the new product is never 
actually kiss-proof, but they come 
closer each year, and the gals 
tumble for it every time. 

Well, they wanted my advice on 



29 



30 



WINSTON MARKS 



a lot of details such as optimum 
shades, a new name, size, shape 
and design of container. And they 
wcie ready to spend a hunk of 
moolah on the build-up. You see, 
when they give a product a first- 
class advertising ride they don't fig- 
ure on necessarily showing a profit 
on that particular item. If they 
break even they figure they are 
ahead of the game, because the 
true purpose is to bioild up the 
brand name. You get enough wom- 
en raving over the new Elaine 
Templeton Upstick, and first thing 
you know sales start climbing on 
the whole line of assorted aids to 
seduction. 

Since E. T., Inc., was one of our 
better accounts, the old man told 
me to take as long as was needed, 
so I moved in to my assigned of- 
fice, in the twelve-story E. T. build- 
ing, secretary, Scotch supply, ice- 
bags, ulcer pills and all, and went 
to work setting up my survey staff. 
This product engineering is a mat- 
ter of "cut and try" in some fields. 
You get some ideas, knock together 
some samples, try them on the 
public with a staff of interviewers, 
tabulate the results, draw your con- 
clusions and hand them over to 
Production with a prayer. If your 
ad budget is large enough your 
prayer is usually answered, because 
the American Public buys princi- 
pally on the "we kno\V what we 
like, and we like what we know" 
principle. Make them "know it" 
and they'll buy it. Maybe in love, 
absence makes the heart grow 
fonder, but in this business, famili- 
arity breeds nothing but sales. 

Madame Elaine had a fair staff 
of idea boys, herself. In fact, every 



other department head had some 
gimmick he was trying to push to 
get personal recognition. The Old 
Hag liked this spirit of initiative 
and made it plain to me I was to 
give everyone a thorough hearing. 

This is one of the crosses you 
have to bear. Everyone but the 
janitor was swarming into my of- 
fice with suggestions, and more 
than half of them had nothing to 
do with the lipstick campaign at 
all. So I dutifully listened to each 
one, had my girl take impressive 
notes and then lifted my left or 
my right eyebrow at her. My left 
eyebrow meant file them in the 
wastebasket. This is how the Atum- 
myc Afterbath Dusting Powder got 
lost in the shuffle, and later I was 
credited with launching a new item 
on which I didn't even have a 
record. 

It came about this way: 



JUST BEFORE lunch one day, 
one of the Old Hag's promo- 
tion-minded pixies flounced her 
fanny into my interview chair, 
crossed her knees up to her navel 
and began selling me her pet pro- 
ject. She was a relative of the 
Madame as well as a department 
head, so I had to listen. 

Her idea was corny — a new dust- 
ing powder with "Atummion" 
added, to be called, "Atummyc 
Afterbath Dusting Powder" — 
"Atummyc", of course, being a 
far-fetched play on the word 
"atomic". What delighted her es- 
pecially was that the intimate, 
meaningful word "tummy" oc- 
curred in her coined trade name, 
and this was supposed to do won- 



32 



WINSTON MARKS 



ders in stimulating the imagina- 
tions of the young females of man- 
catching-age. 

As I said, the idea was corny. 
But the little hazel-eyed pixie was 
not. She was about 24, black- 
haired, small-waisted and bubbling 
with hormones. With her shapely 
knees and low-cut neckline she was 
a pleasant change of scenery from 
the procession of self-seeking mid- 
dle-agers I had been interviewing 
— not that her motive was any dif- 
ferent. 

I stalled a little to feast my 
eyes. "This Atummion Added 
item," I said, "just what is Atum- 
mion?" 

"That's my secret," she said, 
squinching her eyes at me like a 
fun-loving little cobra. "My brother 
is assistant head chemist, and he's 
worked up a formula of fission 
products we got from the Atomic 
Energy Commission for experi- 
mentation." 

"Fission products!" I said. "That 
stuff's dangerous!" 

"Not this formula," she assured 
me. "Bob says there's hardly any 
radiation to it at all. Perfectly 
harmless." 

"Then what's it supposed to do?" 
I inquired naively. 

She stood up, placed one hand 
on her stomach and the other be- 
hind her head, wiggled and 
stretched. "Atummyc Bath Pow- 
der will give milady that wonder- 
ful, vibrant, atomic feeling," she 
announced in a voice dripping with 
innuendo. 

"All right," I said, "that's what 
it's supposed to do. Now what does 
it really do?" 

"Smells good and makes her 



slippery-dry, like any other tal- 
cum," she admitted quite honestly. 
"It's the name and the idea that 
will put it across." 

"And half a million dollars," I 
reminded her. "I'm afraid the 
whole thing is a little too far off 
the track to consider at this time. 
I'm here to make a new lipstick go. 
Maybe later — " 

"I appreciate that, but honestly, 
don't you think it's a terrific idea?" 

"I think you're terrific," I told 
her, raising my left eyebrow at my 
secretary, "and we'll get around to 
you one of these days." 

"Oh, Mr. Sanders!" she said, ex- 
ploding those big eyes at me and 
shoving a half -folded sheet of paper 
at me. "Would you please sign my 
interview voucher?" 

In Madame Elaine's organiza- 
tion you had to have a written "ex- 
cuse" for absenting yourself from 
your department during working 
hours. I supposed that the paper I 
signed was no different from the 
others. Anyway, I was still blinded 
by the atomic blast of those hazel 
eyes. 

After she left I got to thinking 
it was strange that she had me sign 
the interview receipt. I couldn't re- 
member having done that for any 
other department heads. 

I didn't tumble to the pixie's 
gimmick for a whole month, then 
I picked up the phone one day and 
the old man spilled the news. "I 
thought you were making lipstick 
over there. What's this call for ad 
copy on a new bath powder?" 

The incident flashed back in my 
mind, and rather than admit I had 
been by-passed I lied, "You know 
the Madame. She always gets all 



BREEDER REACTION 



33 



she can for her money." 

The old man muttered, "I don't 
see taking funds from the lipstick 
campaign and splitting them off in- 
to little projects like this," he said. 
"Twenty-five thousand bucks 
would get you one nice spread in 
the Post, but what kind of a one- 
shot campaign would that be?" 

I mumbled excuses, hung up and 
screamed for the pixie. My secre- 
tary said, "Who?" 

"Little sexy-eyes. The Atomic 
Bath Powder girl." 

Without her name it took an 
hour to dig her up, but she finally 
popped in, plumped down and 
began giggling. "You found out." 

"How," I demanded, "did you 
arrange it?" 

"Easy. Madame El^ne's in Paris. 
She gave you a free hand, didn't 
she?" 

I nodded. 

"Well, when you signed your 
okay on the Atummyc — " 

"That was an interview 
voucher!" 

"Not — exactly," she said ducking 
her head. 

The damage was done. You 
don't get ahead in this game by 
admitting mistakes, and the pro- 
duction department was already 
packaging and labelling samples of 
Atummyc Bath Powder to send out 
to the distributors. 



I HAD TO carve the $25,000 
out of my lipstick budget and 
keep my mouth shut. When the ad 
copy came over from my firm I 
looked it over, shuddered at the 
quickie treatment they had given 
it and turned it loose. Things were 



beginning to develop fast in my 
lipstick department, and I didn't 
have time to chase the powder 
thing like I should have — since it 
was my name on the whole damned 
project. 

So I wrote off the money and 
turned to other things. 

We were just hitting the market 
with Madame Elaine Templeton's 
"Kissmet" when the first smell of 
smoke came my way. The pixie 
came into my office one morning 
and congratulated me. 

"You're a genius!" she said. 

"Like the Kissmet campaign, do 
you?" I said pleased. 

"It stinks," she said holding her 
nose. "But Atummyc Bath Powdef 
will pull you out of the hole." 

"Oh, that," I said. "When does 
it go to market?" 

"Done went — a month ago." 

"What? Why you haven't had 
time to get it out of the lab yet. 
Using a foreign substance, you 
should have had an exhaustive 
series of allergy skin tests on a 
thousand women before — " 

"I've been using it for two 
months myself," she said. "And 
look at me! See any rashes?" 

I focussed my eyes for the first 
time, and what I saw made me 
wonder if I were losing my mem- 
ory. The pixie had been a pretty 
little French pastry from the first, 
but now she positively glowed. Her 
skin even had that "radiant 
atomic look", right out of our 
corny, low-budget ad copy. 

"What — ^have you done to your- 
self, fallen in love?" 

"With Atummyc After Bath 
Powder," she said smugly. "And 
so have the ladies. The distributors 



34 



WINSTON MARKS 



are all reordering." 

Well, these drug sundries houses 
have some sharp salesmen out, and 
I figured the bath powder must 
have caught them needing some- 
thing to promote. It was a break. 
If we got the $25,000 back it 
wouldn't hurt my alibi a bit, in 
case the Kissmet production failed 
to click. 

Three days later the old man 
called me from the New York 
branch of our agency. "Big dis- 
tributor here is hollering about the 
low budget we've given to this 
Atummyc Bath Powder thing," he 
said. "He tells me his men have 
punched it hard and he thinks it's 
catching on pretty big. Maybe you 
better talk the Madame out of 
a few extra dollars." 

"The Old Hag's in Europe," I 
told him, "and I'm damned if I'll 
rob the Kissmet Lipstick deal any 
more. It's mostly spent anyway." 

The old man didn't like it. When 
you get the distributors on your 
side it pays to back them up, but 
I was too nervous about the wob- 
bly first returns we were getting 
on the Kissmet campaign to con- 
sider taking away any of the un- 
spent budget and throwing it into 
the bath powder deal. 

The next day I stared at an or- 
der from a west coast wholesaler 
and began to sweat. The pixie 
fluttered it under my nose. "Two 
more carloads of Atummyc Bath 
Powder," she gloated. 

"Two more carloads?" 

"Certainly. All the orders are 
reading carloads," she said. "This 
thing has busted wide open." 

And it had. Everybody, like I 
said earlier, lost their head. The 



bath-powder plant was running 
three shifts and had back-orders 
chin high. The general manager, a 
joker name of Jennings, got ex- 
cited, cabled Madame Elaine to 
get back here pronto, which she 
did, and then the panic was on. 

The miracle ingredient was this 
Atummion, and if Atummion sold 
bath powder why wouldn't it sell 
face-cream, rouge, mud-packs, 
shampoos, finger-nail polish and 
eye-shadow? 

For that matter, the Old Hag 
wanted to know, why wouldn't it 
sell Kissmet Lipstick? 

The answer was, of course, that 
the magic legend "Contains the 
Exclusive New Beauty Aid, Atum- 
mion" did sell these other pro- 
ducts. Everything began going out 
in carload lots as soon as we had 
the new labels printed, and to be 
truthful, I breathed a wondrous 
sigh of relief, because up to that 
moment my Kissmet campaign 
had promised to fall flat on its 
lying, crimson face. 



THE STAGGERING truth 
about Atummion seeped in 
slowly. Item one : Although we put 
only a pinch of it in a whole bar- 
rel of talcum powder, it did give 
the female users a terrific com- 
plexion! Pimples, black-heads, 
warts, freckles and even minor 
scars disappeared after a few weeks, 
and from the very first applica- 
tion users mailed us testimonials 
swearing to that "atomic feeling 
of loveliness". 

Item two: About one grain of 
Atummion to the pound of lip- 
stick brought out the natural 



BREEDER REACTION 



35 



color of a woman's lips and main- 
tained it there even after the lip- 
stick was removed. 

Item three: There never was 
such a shampoo. For once the ad 
copywriters failed to exceed the 
merits of their product. Atummion- 
tinted hair took on a sparkling look, 
a soft texture and a natural-appear- 
ing wave that set beauty-operators 
screaming for protection. 

These beauticians timed their 
complaint nicely. It got results on 
the morning that the whole thing 
began to fall to pieces. 

About ten A. M. Jennings called 
a meeting of all people concerned 
in the Atummyc Powder project, 
and they included me as well as 
the pixie and her brother, the as- 
sistant chemist. 

Everyone was too flushed with 
success to take Jennings' opening 
remark too seriously. "It looks like 
we've got a winner that's about to 
lose us our shirts," he said. 

He shufHed some papers and 
found the one he wanted to hit us 
with first. "The beauticians claim 
we are dispensing a dangerous drug 
without prescription. They have 
brought suits to restrain our use." 

Madame Elaine in her mannish- 
ly tailored suit was standing by a 
window staring out. She said, "The 
beauticians never gave us any 
break, anyway. Hell with them! 
What's next?" 

Jennings lifted another paper. "I 
agree, but they sicked the Pure 
Food and Drug people on us. They 
tend to concur." 

"Let them prove it first," the 
Old Hag said turning to the pixie's 
brother. "Eh, Bob!" 

"It's harmless!" he protested, but 



I noticed that the pixie herself, for 
all her radiance, had a troubled 
look on her face. 

The general manager lifted an- 
other paper. "Well, there seems to 
be enough doubt to have caused 
trouble. The Pure Food and Drug 
labs have by-passed the courts and 
put in a word to the Atomic Ener- 
gy Commission. The AEC has cut 
off our supply of the fission salts 
that go into Atummion, pending 
tests." 

That brought us all to our feet. 
Madame Elaine stalked back to the 
huge conference table and stared at 
Bob, the chemist. "How much of 
the gunk do we have on hand?" 

"About a week's supply at pres- 
ent production rates." He was pale, 
and he swallowed his adam's apple 
three times. 

The worst was yet to come. The 
pixie looked around the table pecu- 
liarly unchanged by the news. She 
had trouble in her face but it had 
been there from the start of the 
conference. "I wasn't going to 
bring this up just yet," she said, 
"but since we're here to have a 
good cry I might as well let you 
kick this one around at the same 
time. Maybe you won't mind shut- 
ting down production after all." 

The way she said it froze all of 
us except the Madame. 

The Madame said, "Well, speak 
up! What is it?" 

"I've been to twelve different 
doctors, including eight specialists. 
I've thought and thought until I'm 
half crazy, and there just isn't any 
other answer," the pixie said. 

She stared at us and clenched her 
fists and beat on the shiny table. 
"You've got to believe me! There 



36 



WINSTON MARKS 



just isn't any other answer. Atum- 
mion is responsible for my condi- 
tion, and all twelve doctors agreed 
on my condition." 

Still standing, Madame Elaine 
Templeton grabbed the back of her 
chair until her knuckles turned 
white. "Don't tell me the stuff 
brings on hives or something!" 

The pixie threw back her head 
and a near-hysterical laugh 
throbbed from her lovely throat. 
"Hives, hell. I'm pregnant!" 



WELL, we were all very sorry 
for her, because she was un- 
married, and that sort of thing is 
always clumsy. At that moment, 
however, none of us believed the 
connection between her condition 
and Atummion. 

Being a distant relative of the 
Madame, she was humored to the 
extent that we had the lab get 
some guinea pigs and douse them 
with Elaine Templeton's After Bath 
Powder, and they even professed 
to make a daily check on them. 

Meanwhile, production ground 
to a halt on all Atummion-labelled 
products, which was everything, I 
think, but the eyebrow pencils. 

With every drug-store and de- 
partment store in the country 
screaming to have their orders 
filled, it was a dehcate matter and 
took a lot of string-pullisg to keep 
the thing off the front-pages. It 
wasn't the beautician's open 
charges that bothered us, because 
everyone knew they were just dis- 
gruntled. But if it leaked out that 
the AEC was disturbed enough to 
cut off our fission products, every 
radio, newspaper and TV com- 



mentator in the business would | 
soon make mince-meat of us over | 
the fact that Atummion had not \ 
been adequately tested before mar- | 
keting. And this was so right! \ 

We took our chances and sub- 
mitted honest samples to the Bu- 
reau of Weights and Measures and 
the Pure Food and Drug labs. And •' 
held our breath. 

The morning the first report 
came back in our favor there was ; 
great rejoicing, but that afternoon 
our own testing lab sent up a man i 
to see Jennings, and he called me 
instantly. 

"Sanford, get up here at once. 
The guinea pigs just threw five 
litters of babies!" 

"Congratulations," I told him. 
"That happens with guinea pigs, 
I understand." 

"You don't understand," he 
thundered at me. "This was test 
group F-six, all females, and every 
one has reached maturity since we 
bought and segregated them." 

"There must be some mistake," 
I said. 

"There better be," he told me. 

I went to his office and together 
we picked up the Madame from 
her penthouse suite. She followed 
us into the elevator reluctantly. 
"Absurd, absurd!" was all she could 
say. 

We watched the lab man check 
the ten adult pigs one by one. Even 
as inexpert as I am in such mat- 
ters, it was evident that all ten 
were females, and the five which 
had not yet participated in blessed 
events were but hours from becom- 
ing mothers. 

We went our separate ways 
stunned. Back in my office I pulled 



BREEDER REACTION 



37 



out a list of our big wholesale ac- 
counts where the Atummion pro- 
ducts had been shipped by the car- 
loads. The warehouses were distrib- 
uted in every state of the union. 

Then I ran my eye down the list 
of products which contained the 
devilish Atummion. There were 
thiry-eight, in all, including a com- 
plete line of men's toiletries, shav- 
ing lotion, shampoo, deodorant and 
body-dusting powder. I thanked 
God that men didn't have ovaries. 

Dolores Donet — that was the 
pixie's name — opened my door and 
deposited herself gingerly in a chair 
opposite me. 

I said, "You look radiant." 

She said, "Don't rub it in, and 
I'll have a shot of that." I shared 
my Haig and Haig with her, and 
we drank to the newly departed 
bottom of the world. 



MY SECRETARY tried to give 
me a list of people who had 
phoned and a stack of angry tele- 
grams about back-orders, but I 
waved her away. "Dolores," I said, 
"there must have been a boy guinea 
pig loose in that pen. It's just too 
fantastic!" 

"Are you accusing me of turning 
one loose just to get off the hook 
myself?" she snapped. 

"What you've got, excuses won't 
cure," I told her, "but we've got 
to get facts. My God, if you're 
right—" 

"We've sworn everyone to se- 
crecy," she said. "There's a 
$10,000 bonus posted for each em- 
ployee who knows about this. Pay- 
able when the statute of limitations 
runs out on possible litigation." 



"You can't swear the public to 
secrecy," I said. 

"Think a minute," she said, cold- 
ly. "The married women don't 
need excuses, and the single girls — 
who'll believe them? Half of them 
or better, have guilty consciences 
anyway. The rest? They're In the 
same boat I was — without a lab- 
ful of guinea pigs to back them up." 

"But — how did it happen in the 
first place?" 

"Bob has been consulting the 
biologist we retained. He keeps 
asking the same question. He says 
parthenogenesis in higher life- 
forms is virtually impossible. Bob 
keeps pointing at the little pigs, 
and they're going round and round. 
They're examining the other eleven 
test pens now, but there's no ques- 
tion in my mind. I have a personal 
stake in this experiment, and I 
was very careful to supervise the 
segregation of males and females." 

My sanity returned in one glori- 
ous rush. There was the bugger 
factor! Dolores, herself. 

In her eagerness to clear her own 
skirts, Dolores had tampered with 
the integrity of the experiment. 
Probably, she had arranged for 
artificial insemination, just to be 
sure. The tip-off was the hundred 
percent pregnancy of one whole 
test-batch. Ten out of ten. Even 
if one buck had slipped in inad- 
vertently, and someone was cover- 
ing up the mistake, why you 
wouldn't expect anything like a 
100% "take". 

"Dolores," I said, "you are a 
naughty girl in more ways than 
one." 

She got up and refilled her glass 
shaking her head. "The ever-sus- 



38 



WINSTON MARK^ 



picious male," she said. "Don't you 
understand? I'm not trying to 
dodge my responsibility for my con- 
dition. The wliole mess is my fault 
from beginning to end. But what 
kind of a heel will I be if we get 
clearaoce from, the AEG and start 
shipping out Atummyc products 
again— knowing what I do? What's 
more, if we let the stuff float 
around indefinitely, someone is go- 
ing to run comprehensive tests on 
it, not just allergy test patches like 
they're doing at the government 
labs right now," 

"Yeah," I said, "so we all bury 
the hottest promotion that ever hit 
the cosmetics industry and live 
happily ever after." 

She liit the deck and threw her 
whiskey glass at me, which did 
nothing to convince me that she 
wasn't telling the tallest tale of the 
century— to be consewatiYe. 

We sat and glared at each other 
for a few minutes. Finally she said, 
"You're going to get proof, and 
damned good proof any minute 
now." 

"How so?" Nothing this experi- 
ment revealed would be valid to 
me, I figured, now that I was con- 
vinced she had deliberately fouled 
it up. 

"Bob and the biologist should be 
up here any minute. I told them 
I'd wait in your office. I know 
something you don't. I'm just wait- 
ing for tliern to verify it." 

She was much too confident, and 
I began to get worried again. We 
waited for ten minutes, fifteen, 
twenty. I picked up the phone and 
dialed the lab. 

The woman assistant answered 



and said that the two men were on 
the way up right now. I asked, 
"Wliat have they been doing down 
there?" 

She said, "They've been doing 
Caesarian sections on the animah 
in test-pen M-four." 

"Caesarian sections?" I repeated. i 
She affirmed it, and, Dolores Donet < 
got a tight, little, humorless smile i 
on her face. I hung up and said, ; 
"They're on their way up, and .? 
what's so fiiniiy?" i 

She said, "You know what I ; 
think? I think yoiiVe been using / 
Atummyc products on you." I 

"So what?" I demaBded. "I was ■; 
responsible for this campaign, too. j 
I've been, waiting for a rash to de- ,! 
velop almost as long as yon have." ; 

She said, "When Bob comes in, •' 
look at his complexion. All three 
of us have been guinea pigs, I 
guess." 

"I still don't see whathi sO' • 
damned amusing." 

She said, "You still don't turable, 
eh? All right, Fll spell it out. Gae- 
sariaiis performed on test batch 
M-four." 

"So?" 

"The 'M' stands for male," she 
said. 

She timed it jiist right. The hall 
door opened and Bob trailed in 
with a dazed look. The biologist 
was half holding him up. His white 
lab-srnock was freshly blood- 
stained, and his eyes were blank 
and unseeing. 

But ,for all his distress, he was 
still a good looking young fellow. 
His skill had that lovely, radiant, i 
atomic look— just like mine. 

• • • THt iN0 



No one knows the heart of a rebel until his own 
search for the reason of right or wrong is made. 
Lieutenant Laskell found the answer to Ms own 
personal rebellion deep beneath a turbulent Atlan- 
tic , and somehow, when the time came, his decision 
zeasn't too difficult . . . 



Way of a Rebel 

ly Walter Miller, Jr. 

Illustrated by Rudolph Palais 



I lEUTENANT LASICELL sur- 
*-■ faced Ms one-man submarine 
fifty miles off the Florida coast 
where lie had been patrolling in 
search of enemy subs. Darkness had 
fallen. He tuned his short wave set 
to the Miami station just in time 
to hear the eight o'clock news. The 
grim aBiioimcement that he had 
expected was quick to co:nie: 

"In accordance with the provi- 
sions of the Tweoty-Sixth Amend- 
ment, Congress today approved the 
Maiilin Bill, declaring a state of 
total emergency for the nation. 
President WiUiston signed it imme- 
diately and tendered his resigna- 
tion to the GoQgress and the people. 
The executive, legislative, and ju- 
diciary are now in the hands of the 
Depaxtmenl of Defense. Secretary 



39 



Garsoii has issued' two decrees, one 
reininding all citizens that they are 
no longer fret to shirk their duties 
to the nation, the other calHng 
upon the leaders of the Eurasian 
Soviet to cease air attacks on the 
AHierican continent or suffer the 
chnsequeiices. 

"Ill Secretary Garson's iikima- 
tuiii to the enemy, he stated : 'Here- 
tofore we have refrained from em- 
ploying certain weapons of war- 
fare in the vain hope that you, 
would recognize the futiHty of fur- 
th,er aggression and desist from it. 
You have not done so. You have 
persisted in your blood-thirsty 
foUy, despite this oation's efforts to 
reach an agreement for armistice. 
Therefore I am ft»rced to command 
yoii, in the Name of Almighty God, 



t* 



. \K •• ■"• ■■■ -.* 

- ■ ■• ' ■ ; 



.N"" 



-•V . , 










vVAY OF A REBEL 



41 



to surrender immediately or be de- 
stroyed. I shall allow you one day 
in which to give evidence of sub- 
mission. If such e¥idence is not 
forthcoming, I shall, implement this 
directive by a total attack. . ." 

Mitch Laskell switched off the 
short wave set and muttered an 
oath. He squeezed his m'ay up 
through the narrow conning tower 
and sat on the small deck, leaning 
back against the rocket-launcher 
and dangling his feet in the calm 
ocean. The night was windless and 
warm, with the summer stars eye- 
ing the earth benigoly. But despite 
the warmth, he felt clammy; his 
hands were, shaliing ,a Httle m he 
lit a cigarette. 

The newscast — it came as no sur- 
prise. The world had known for 
weeks that the MaiiHii Bill would 
be passed, and that Garsoo would 
be given absolute powers to lead 
the nation through the war. And 
his ultimatum to the enemy was no 
surprise. Garsoii had long favored 
an all-out radiological attack, em- 
ploying every nuclear weapon the 
country could muster. Heretofore 
both sides had limited themselves 
to non-rigged atomic explcsives, 
and had refrained ,froin, using bac- 
terial weapon,?. Garsoii wanted to 
tate off the boxing-gloves in favor 
c>f steel gauntlet,?. ,And now It 
would happen — the all-out attach, 
the masterpiece of homicidal engi- 
neering, the final, word in destruc- 
tion. 



MITCH, reclining ,in loneliness 
against the rocket-launcher, 
blew a thoughtful cloud of cigarette 
smoke toward the bright yellow eye 



of Arcturus, almost directly over- 
head, a,nd wondered why the Con- 
stellation Bootes suddenly looked 
like a big club ready to fall on the 
earth, when it had always reminded 
him of a fly-sm'atter about to slap 
the Corona Borealis. He searched 
himself for horror, but found only 
a gloomy uneasiness. It wa.s funny, 
he thoiiglit; five years ago men 
would have been outraged at the 
notion of an American absolutism, 
with one man ruling by decree. But 
now that it had happened, it was 
not to iiard tO' accept. He wondereC'""" 
at it, _ _ 

And lie soon ""decided that almost 
any fact could he accepted calmly 
after it liad already happened. Men 
would be just as cairn after their 
cities had been reduced to rubble. 
The hiinia,n capacity for calmness 
was almost iiiilimited, ex post facto, 
because the routine of daily living 
had to go on, despite the big busi- 
ness of go¥ernments whose leaders 
invoked the Deity in the cause of 
slaughter. 

A voice, echoing up out of the 
conning tower, made him jump. 
The command set was barking his 
call letters. 

"Unit Sugar William Niner 
Zero, Mother 'wants you. I say 
again: Mother wants you. Ac- 
knowledge please. Over." 

The message iii,eant: return to 
base immediately. And it implied 
an urgency in the use of the code- 
word Mother. He frowned and 
started up, then fel back with a 
low grunt 

All of his resentment against the 
world's political jackasses suddenly 
f)oiled up inside him as a personal 
resentmeot. There was sometMag 



42 



WALTER MILLER, JR. 



about the metallic rasp of the 
radio's voice that sparked him to 
sudden rebelliousness. 

"Unit Sugar William Niiier 
Zero, Mother wants you, Mother 
wants you. Acknowledge immedi- 
ately. Over." 

He had a good idea what it was 
all about. All subs were probably 
being called in for rearmament 
with cobalt-rigged atomic warheads 
for their guided missiles. The sub- 
marine force would probably be 
used to implement Garsoii's ulti- 
matum. They would deliver radio- 
logical death, to Eurasian coastal 
cities, and cause the Soviets to re- 
taliate. 

Why must I participate in the 
wrecking of -mechanical civiliza- 
tion? he thought grimly. 

But a couriter-thoiiglit came to 
trouble liim : J have a duty to obey; 
The country gave me birth mid 
brought me up, and now it's got a 
war to fight. 

He arose and let himself down 
through the conning tower. He 
reached for the microphone, but 
the receiver croaked again. 

"Sugar William Niner Zero, you 
are ordered to answer immediately. 
Mother's fixing shortening bread. 
Mother wants yon. Over." 

Shortening bread — big plan.s, 
something special, a radiological 
death-disli for the world. He hated 
the voice quietly. His hand touched 
the microphone but did not lift it. 

He stood poised there in the 
light of a single glow-lamp, feeling 
his small sub rocking gently in the 
calm sea, listening to the quiet purr 
of the atomics beneath Hm. He had 
come to love the little sub, despite 
the loneliness of long weeks at sea. 



His only companion was the sub's 
small computer which was used foj' 
navigation and for calciilatioBs per- 
taining to the firing of the rocket - 
missiles. It also handled the proba- 
bility mathematics of random 
.search, and aiitonaatically radioed 
periodic position reports tO' th*- 
home-ba.se computer. 

He glanced suddenly at his 
watch. It was nearly time for a ro- 
port. Abruptly he reached out and 
jerked open the knife-switch in the 
computer's antenna circuit. Imiris-- 
diately the machine began cHckin;^ 
and clattering and chomping. A 
bit of paper tape suddenly licked 
out of its answer-slot. He tore it 
off and, read the neatly printed 
words: MALFUNCTION, OPE.X 
GlllCUIT, COMMUNICA- 
TIONS OUTPUT; INSERT 
DATA. 

Mitch "inserted data" by punch- 
ing a button, labelled NO REPAIR 
and another labelled RADIO 
OUT. One bank of tubes ,immedi- 
ately lost its filament-glow, and the 
computer .shot out another bit of 
tape inscribed IJATA ROGERED. 
He patted it affectionately and 
grinned. The computer was just a 
machine, but he found it easy to 
personalize the thing. . . 

The command-set was crackling 
again. "Sugar William Nirier Zero, 
this is Gommsubron Killer. Two 
messages. Mother wants you. 
Daddy has 'a razor strap. Get on 
the ball out there, boy! Acknowl- 
edge. Over." 

Mitch whitened and picked up 
the microp,hone. He keyed the 
transmitter's carrier and spoke in a 
quiet hiss. "Commsubron Killer 
from Sugar William Miner Zero. 



■/,'AY OF A REBEL 



43 



I 



'il.^«;ige for Daddy. Sonnyboy just 
resigoed from the Navy. Go to 
hell, all of you! Over and out!" 

He shut off the receiver just as it 
started to stutter a shocked reply. 
He dropped tlie mike and let it 
dangle. He stood touching his fin- 
gertips to his temples and breathing 
in shallow gasps. Had lie gone com- 
pletely insane? 

He sat clown on the floor of the 
tiny conipartment and tried to 
think. But he could only feel a bit- 
ter resentment welling up out ^ of 
nowhere. Why? He had always got- ' 
ten along in, the Navy. He was the 
under-sea equivalent of a fighter 
pilot, and he had always liked his 
ob. They had even, said that "he 
ad the killer instinct" — or m'hat- 
ever it was that made liim grin 
maliciously when lie spotted an 
enemy sub and streaked in for the 
Mil. 



NOW SUDDENLY lie didn't 
want to go back. He wanted 
to quit the whole damn war and 
run away. Bticause of Gar.son may- 
be? But nO', hadn't he a,iiticipated 
that before it happened? Why 
should he kick now, when he hadn't 
kicked before? And who was he to 
decide whether Garson was right 
or wrong? 

Go back, he thought. There's the 
microphone. Pick it up and tell 
Commsubron that you went stir- 
crazy for a little while. Tell Mm 
wilco on his message. They won't 
do anything to you except send fou 
to a nut doctor. Maybe you need 
one. Go on back Eke a sane man. 

But he drew his hand back from 
the microphone. He wiped his face 



nervously. Mitch had never spent 
much time worrying about ethics 
aad creeds and political philoso- 
phies. He'd had a job to do, and he 
did it, and he sometimes sneered at 
people who could wax starry-eyed 
about patriotism, and such. It didn't 
make sense. The old school spirit 
was okay for football games, and 
even for small-time wars, but he 
had never felt much of it. He 
hadn't needed it in order to be a 
good fighter. He fought because it 
was con,sidered the "thing to do," 
■■.because he liked the people he had 
to li¥Q with, and because those peo- 
ple wohldn't have a good opinion 
of him if^he didn't fight. People 
never needecl'^much of a philosophic 
motive to make them do the social- 
ly approved things.X^ 

He moistened his -lips nervously 
and stared at the mictophone. He 
was scared. Scared to ruXaway. He 
had never been afraid, of^a fight, 
frightened maybe, but not afraid. 
Why now? It takes a lot of courage 
to be a coward, he tliought, but the 
word coward made him wince. He 
groped blindly for a reasonable ex- 
planation of his desire to desert. He 
wanted to talk to somebody about 
it, because he was the kind of man 
who could think best in an argu- 
ment. But there was no^ ooe to talk 
to except the radio. 

The computer's keyboard was 
almost at his elbow. He .stared at 
it for a moment, then slowly t^Tied : 

DATA: WIND OUT OF THE 
NORTH. WAVE FACTOR 0.50 
ROUGHNESS SCALE. 

INSTRUCTIONS : SUGGEST 
ACTION. 

The machine chewed on the en- 
try noisily for a few seconds, then 



44 



WALTER MILLER, JR, 



answered: Ih^l I i li U "'.'T 
DATA. 

He nodded thoughtfully. That 
was Ms predicament too: insuffi- 
cient data about: his own moti¥es. 
How could a man trust himself to 
judge^ wisely, when Iiis judgement 
went completely against that of Hs 
society? He typed again. 

DATA FOR HYPOTHETI- 
CAL PROBLEM: YOU HAVE 
JUST SOL¥ED A NAVIGA- 
TIONAL PROBLEM WHOSE 
SOLUTION REQUIRES 
COURSE DUE WEST, THREE 
OTHER COMPUTERS SOLVE 
SAME PROBLEM AMD GET 
COUESE DUE SOUTH. MAL- 
FUNCTION NOT EVIDENT IM 
ANY OF FOUR COMPUTERS. 

INSTRUGTIOMS: FURNISH 
A COURSE. 

The computer clattered for 
awhile, then typed: SUGGES- 
TIOM': MALFUGTIO^ f TM 
GATORS ARE POSSIBUi f t •• ! 
FUGTIONING. IS i> i s .\ 
AVAILABLE? 

He stared at it, then laughed 
grimly. His own malfunction-indi- 
cator wasn't telling him much 
either. Witli masochistic fatalism 
lie touched the keyboard again. 

DATA NOT AVAILABLE. 
FURNISH A COURSE. 

The computer replied almost iin- 
niedJately this time: COURSE: 
DUE WEST. 

Mitch stared at it and bit Hs lip. 
The machine would follow its own 
solution, even if the other three 
cotitradicted it. Naturally — it 
would have to follow its own solu- 
tion, if there was no indication of 
Hialfiuictioii. But could a human 
being make such a decision? Could 



a man decide, 'T am right, and 
everyone . else is wrong?" 

No evidence of malfunction^ he 
thought. I am not a coward. Met- 
ther am I insmie. 

His heart cried: "I am disgusted 
with this purposeless war. I shall 
quit fighting it." 

He sighed deeply, then arose, 
There was aotliing else to do. Thr 
atomic engines could go six montlii 
without refueling. There were 
enough undersea rations to last 
nearly that long. 

He switched on. the radio again, 
goosed the engines to full speed_. 
and after a moment's tliought, 
swung aroimci on a northeasteiiv 
heading. His first impulse had been, 
to liead south, aiming for Yucatan 
or the Giiianas — but tliat iiipiilsc 
woiild also be the first to strike Im 
piirsuer.s who were sure tO' coiiit. 

A new voice was growling on the 
radio, an,cl he recognized it as Gap- 
tain Barkley, his usually jovlalj 
slightly cynical coiiimandiiig officer. 
"Listen, Mitch — ^if you can hear 
me, better answer. Whatls mTong 
with yoii anyliow? I caiiit hold off 
much longer. If you, don't reply, 
I'll h,a¥e to hunt you down. You're 
ordered to proceed hnmediately to 
the nearest base. Over." 

Mitch wanted to answer, wanted 
to argue and fiiine and curse, hop- 
ing that he could explain his be- 
haviour to his own satisfaction. 
But they might not be certain of 
his exact location, and if he used 
the radio, half-a-dozen direction- 
finders wo'iild swing around to aim 
along his signal, and Barkley would 
plot the half-a-dozen lines on the 
map ill his ofiice before speaking 
crisply into Ms telephone : all right. 



WAY OF A REBEL 



45 



bofs—get Mm! 29° TO' North, 
79° 50' West, Use a P-charge if you 
can't spot him by radar or sonar. 
Mitch left the controls in the 
hands of the computer and went up 
to stand in the conning tower with 
the churning spray washing his 
face. Surfaced, the sub could make 
sixty knots, and he meant to stay 
surfaced until there were hints of 
pursuit. 



A THREE-QUARTER moon 
was rising in gloomy orange 
majesty out of the quiet sea. It 
made a river of syrupy light across 
the water to the east, and it height- 
ened his sense of unreality, Hs feel- 
ing of detachment from clanger. 

Is it always like this, he won- 
dered? Can a man toss aside his so- 
ciety so easily, become a traitor 
with so little logical reason? A day 
ago, he would not have dreamed it 
possible. A day ago, he would have 
proclaimed with the cynical Bark- 
ley, "A sailor's got no politics. What 
the hell's it to me if Garsoii is Big 
Boss? I'm just a little tooth in a big 
gear. Uncle pays rny keep. I ask no 
questions." 

And now he was running like 
hell and stealing several million 
bucks worth of Uncle's Navy, all 
because Garson's pomposity and a 
radio operator's voice got under his 
skin. How rould a man be so crazy? 

But no, that couldn't be it, he 
thought. Jeczil! He must have some 
better reason. Sort of a last straw, 
rnaybe. But he had been conscious 
of no great resentment against the 
war or the Navy or the govern- 
ment. Historically speaking, wars 
had ne¥er done a great deal of 



harm — no more harm than indus- 
trial or traffic accidents. 

Why was this war any different? 
It promised to be more destructiYC 
than the others, but that was draw- 
ing a rather narrow line. Who was 
he to draw Ms bayonet across the 
road and say, "Stop here. Tliis is 
the limit." 

Mitch turned his bacli toward 
the whipping spray and stared aft 
along the phosphorescent, moon- 
swept wake of his mechanical 
shark. The radio was still barking 
at him with Barkley's clipped tones. 

"Last warning, Laskell! Get on 
that microphone or suffer the con- 
secjuence.s! We know where you 
are. I'll give you fifteen mimites, 
then we'll come get you. Over 
and out." 

Thanks for the warning, Mitch 
thought In a few minutes, he 
would have to submerge. His eyes 
swept the moon-washed heavens 
for signs of aircraft, and he 
watched the dark horizon for hints 
of pursuit. 

He meant to keep the northeast- 
erly course for perhaps ten hours, 
then turn ofF and cruise southeast, 
passing below Bermuda and on out 
into the central Atlantic. Then 
south — perhaps to Africa or Brazil. 
A fugitive for the rest of his days. 

"Sugar William Niner Zero," 
barked the radio. "This is Comm- 
subfleet J,iybird. Over." 

Mitch moistened Hs lips nerv- 
ously. The voice was no longer 
Barkley's. Commsubfleet Jaybird 
was Admiral Harrinore. He 
chuckled bitterly then, realizing 
that he was still automatically star- 
tled by rank. He remained in the 
conning tower, listening. 



46 



'A^alFEP MILLEI^ jr 



"Sugar William Miner ZerO', this 
is Gommsubieet Jaybird. If yen 
will obey orders immediately, I 
guarantee that you will be allowed 
to accept summary discipline. No 
court martial if you comply. Yoii 
are to return to base at once. 
Otherwise, we shall be forcc^d to 
blast you out of the ocean as a 
deserter to the enemy. 0¥er." 

So that was it, he thought. They 
were worried about the sub falling 
into Soviet paws. Some of its equip- 
ment was still classified "secret", 
although the Reds probably already 
had it. 

Noj he wasn't deserting to tlie 
enemy. Neither side was right in 
the struggle, although he preferred 
the Wtist's brand of wrongness to 
the bloodier wrongness of tie Reds. 
But a man in clioosiiig tlie lesser 
of two evils must first decide 
whether tlie choice really has to be 
made, and if there is not a third 
and more desirable way. Before 
picking a weapon for self-destruc- 
tion, it might lielp to reason wheth- 
er or not suicide is really necessary. 

He smiled sardonically into tlie 
gray gli>om, knowing that liis think- 
ing was rurming backwards, that 
he had acted before reasoning why, 
that he was rationalizing in an at- 
tempt to soothe himself and ab- 
solve himself. But a lot of human 
thinking occurred beneath the level 
of consciousness, down in the 
darker regions of the mind where 
it was not allowed to become con- 
scious lest it bring .shame to the 
thinker. And perhaps he had rea- 
soned it all out in that mental half- 
world where thoughts are inner 
ghosts, haunting the possessed man 
with ¥ague stirrings of uneasiness. 



leading him into inexplicable hc- 

haviour. 

I am free iiaw, he told himself, i' 
have gi¥en them my declaration, oi' 
independence, and I am an aiiimat 
struggling to stir¥i¥e. Li¥ing in so- 
ciety, a man must submit to^ its will , 
but now I am divorced from it, and 
I shall liwe apart from it if I live ai 
all, and I shall owe it nothing. Th:"r 
"goveniecl" no longer gives h;-; 
consent. How many times kav-' 
men said, "If yom don't like th ■ 
system here, why don't you gc-" 
out?" Well, he was getting oil' ^ 
and as a freebom hiimaii aiiima:, 
born as a savage into the world, h - 
had that right, if he had any righi ■ 
at alL 

He grunted moodily and km ~ 
ered himself down into the belly c ' 
the sub. They would be starting ti " 
search soon. He sealed the hatchi 
and opened the water intakes aft*-; 
slowiflg to a crawl. The sub sliii- ■ 
ercd and settled. The indicate ' 
crept to ten feet, twenty, thirty. /-' 
fifty feet, he jabbed a button c - 
the computer, and the eiiglHi ■■ 
growled a harder tlimst. He ke]- 
the northeasterly heading at max ■■ 
mum underwater speed. 



AN HOUR crept by. He listened 
s JT code on, the sonar equip- 
ment, but heard only the weird and 
aameless sea-sounds. He allowed 
himself a reading light in the 
cramped compartment, folded the 
map-table «p from the wall, and 
studied the coastline of Africa. 

He began to feel a frightening 
loneliness, although scarcely two 
hours had passed since Ms rebel- 
lious decision, and he was accus- 



WAY OF A REBEL 



47 



• )med to loHg weeks alone at sea. 
^e scoffed at himself. He would 
>'2t along okay; the sub would take 
' im any place he wanted to go, if 

• ic could escape pursuit. Surely 
'here must be some part of the 
./•orld where men were not coo- 
. 'jrned with tlie senseless struggle 

I the titans. But all such places 
'.■.-ere primitive, savage, almost im- 
1 adurable to a man born and tuned 
'.) the violin-string pitch of tecli- 

• ological culture. 

Mitch realized dismally that he 
rwed technological ciYilization, its 
' iant tools, its roar of mighty en- 
•ines, its proud structures of con- 
-retc and steel. He could sacrifice 
•is love for particular people, for 
particular places and governments 
— but it was going to be harder to 
relinquish medianical civilization 
for some .stone-age culture linger- 
ing in an out-of-the-way place. 
Changing tribes was easy, for all 
tribes belonged to Man, but re- 
nouncing machinery for jiin.gle 
tools would be more difficult. A 
man could cliange his politics, his 
friends, his religion, his country, 
but Man's tools were a part of his 
body. Having iLsed a high-powered 
rifle, the man subsumed the weap- 
on, made it a part of him.self. Trad- 
ing it for a stone axe would be lilce 
cutting off his arm. Man was a user 
of tools, a shaper of environments. 

That mas it, he thought. The 
reason for his sudden rebellion, the 
narrow dividing line between toler- 
able and insufferable wars. A war 
that killed human beings might be 
tolerable, if it left most of civiliza,- 
tions' industry intact, or at least 
restorable, for although men might 
die, Man li¥ed on, still possessing 



Ms precious tools, still capable of 
producing greater ones. But a war 
that wrecked industry, left it a tan- 
gled jumble of radioactive concrete 
and steel — that kind of war was in- 
sufferable, as this one threatened to 
be. 

The idea shocked Mm. Kill a few 
men, and you scratch the hide of 
Historical Man. But wreck the in- 
dustry, drive men out of the cities, 
leave the factories hissing with beta 
and gamma radiation, and you am- 
putate the hands of Historical Man 
the Builder. The machinery of ci- 
vilization was a living body, with 
organismic Man as its braiH. And 
the brain had not yet learned to 
use the body for a constructive pur- 
pose. It lacked coordination, and 
'the ability to reason its actions 
analytically. 

Was he basing action on analytic 
reason? 

Another hour had passed. And, 
then he heard it. The sound of 
faint sonar communication. Quick- 
ly he nosed upward to twenty feet, 
throttled back to half speed, and 
raised the jieriscope. With his face 
pressed against the eyepiece, he 
scanned the moonlit ocean in a 
slow circle. No lights, nO' silhouettes 
against the reflections on the waves. 

He started the pumps and pre- 
pared to surface. Then the conniBg 
tower was snorting through the wa- 
ter like a rolling porpoise. He .shut 
off the engines, leaving the sub in 
utter silence except for the soft 
wash of the sea. He adjusted the 
sonar pickups, turned the amphfier 
to maximum, and li.stened intently. 
Nothing. Had he imagined it? 

He jabbed a button, and a mo- 
tor purred, rolling out the retrac- 



48 



WAlIEk .'FILLER, JR 



tible radar antenna. Carefully he 
scanned the sky and sea, watching 
the green-mottled screen for Hips. 
Nothing'— no ships or aircraft ¥is- 
ible. But lie was certain : for a mo- 
ment lie had heard tlie twitter of 
undersea coiiiiiiiinicators. 



HI SAT WAITING and listen- 
ing. Perliaps they had heard 
Ms engines, altliougli Ms own 
equipment had caught none of 
Aeir drive-noise. 

The computer was able to su- 
pervise se¥eral tasks at once, and 
he set it to continue sweeping tlie 
liorizon with the radar, to listen for 
sonar code and engine purr while 
he attended to other matters. He 
readied two torpedo.? and raised a 
rocket into position for launching. 
He opened the liatcli and climbed 
to stand in tlie conning tower agaia, 
peering grimly aroiiiid the horizon. 

Minutes later, a buzzer sounded 
beneath him. The computer had 
something now. He glanced at the 
parabolic radar antenna, rearing 
its head a dozen feet above him. It 
tad stopped its aimless scanning 
an,d was qiiiFeririg steadily on the 
southeast horizon. Southeast? 

He lowered himself qiiicldy into 
the ship and .stared at the luminous 
screen. Blips^tliree blips— barely 
visible. While he watched, a fourth 
appeared. 

He clamped on Ms headsets. 
There it was! The faint engine- 
noise of ships. His trained senses 
told liim they were subs. Subs out 
of tlie southeast? He had expected 
interception from the west— Erst 
aircraft, then tight surface vessels. 

There was but one possible an- 



swer: the enemy. 

He dived for the radio an l 

waited impatiently for the tiibe.'s I > 
warm again. He found himse ' 
shouting into tlie iiiic. 

"Gonirnsubron Killer, this 
Siigax William Niiier ZerO'. Urgei ' 
message. Over." 

He was a long way from the sti 
tioii. He repeated the call tlirc 
times. At la.st a faintly aiidib, 
voice came from the set. 

". . . this is Gommsubron Siille 
You are ordered to return iinmi 
diately. . ." 

The voice faded again. 

"Listen!" Mitch bellowed. "Fou 
no—fioe enemy submarine — -pos 
tion 31°50' North, 73°10' Wes 
proceeding northwest— roughly, ti 
ward Washington,. Probably carr^ 
ing an answer to Garsoii'.s ultims 
turn. Get help out here. Over." 

He heard only a brief mutti 
this time. ". . . ordered not to pre 
ceed toward Washington. Retm 
imniecliately to—" 

"Not me! You fool! Listen! Fi% 
—enemy — .submarines — " He n 
peatecl tlie message as slowly as I 
could, repeated it four times. 

". . . reading yoii '^ i " came tt 
fading ansm'er. " \t~ •■-.■u in di 
tress? I say again. \i- ^-ju in dis- 
tress? Over." 

Angrily Mitch !■••.• d '.he carrier 
wave, screwed the button tightly 
down, and kicked on the four-hiiia- 
dred cycle modulator. Maybe they 
could get a directional fix on Ms 
signal and home on it. 

The blips were gone from the 
radar scope. The subs liad spotted 
Hill and submerged, hi .■> u 3ment 
lie would be catcliiii" . Ktrpedo, 
maless lie moved. H<- -taried the 



WAY OF A REBEL 



4f 



engines quickly, and the surfaced 
sub lurched ahead. He nosed her 
toward the enemy craft and opened 
the throttle. She knifed through the 
water like a low-running PT boat, 
throwing a V-shaped fan of spray. 
When he reached the halfway 
point between his own former posi- 
tion and the iilace where the enemy 
submerged, he began jabbing a re- 
lease at tliree second intervals, lay- 
io,g a trail of deadly eggs. He could 
hear the crash, of the exploding 
depth-cliarges behind him. He 
swung around to make another 
pass. 

Tlifin he s.iw it — the wet metal 
hulk rearing up like a massive 
whale dead ahead. They had dis- 
covered the insignificance of tlieir 
lone and pint-sized attacker. They 
were coming up to take him with 
deck giins. 

Mitch reversed tlie engines and 
swung quickly away. The range 
was too close for a torpedo. The 
blast would catch them both. He 
began sobmerging quickly. A sick- 
ening blast shivered Ills tiny craft, 
and then another. He dropped to^ 
.sixty feet, tlieii knifed ahead. 

God! Why was he doing this? 
There was no sense in it, if he 
meant to run away. But then the 
thought came: they're returning 
Old Man Garson's big-winded 
threat. They're bringing a snootful 
of radiological hell, and that's the 
damned bayonet-h'iie across the 
road. 



DEPTH CHARGES were crash- 
ing around him as he wove a 
zig-zag course. The computer was 
busing fraati calif. Then he saw 



why. The rocket launcher hadn't 
retracted; there was still a rocket in 
it — with a snootful of Uranium 
235. The thing was dragging at the 
water, slowing him down, causing 
the sub to .shudder and lurch. 

Apparently all the subs had sur- 
faced, for tiie chargcis were falling 
on all sides. Witli the launcher 
dragging at him, they would get 
him sooner or later. He tried to 
nose upward, but the controls re- 
fused. 

He knew what would happen if 
he tried to fire the rocket. Hell, he 
didn't ha¥e to fire it. All he had to 
do was fuse it. It had a water-pres- 
sure fuse, and he was beneath ex- 
ploding depth. 

Don't think about it! Do it! 

No, yoiiVe got to think. That's 
what' .5 wrong. Too much do, n,ot 
enough think. They're going to 
wreck mechanical civilization if 
they keep it up. They're going to 
wreck Man's tooLi, cut off hiss 
hands, and make him an ape again! 

But what's it to you? What can 
you do? 

Dammit! You can, destroy five 
wrong tools that were built to wreck 
the right tooLi. 

Mitch, who wanted to quit an 
all-out m'ar, reached for the fusing 
switch. This part wa.s Ms war; de- 
stroy the destroyers, but not the 
proclucera. Even if it didn't make 
good mihtary sense — 

A cIo.se explosion sent him lurch- 
ing aside. He grabbed at the wall 
and pushed himself back. The 
switch — the damn double- toggle 
red switch! He screamed a curse 
and struck at it with both fi.5t.s. 

There came a beautiful, blinding 
light • . • THi IND 



In a world where men flew, Ecks was landbound; 
in a world of telepathic contact, he was reduced 
to clumsy words. Yet, for a psi cripple, he was an 
incredible adversary for the psi-powerful Health 
Agents, who pursued him, and a commendable 
guinea pig for his tormentors. Which is the gist of 
this fascinating yarn that takes you into a world 
where men flew and . . . 



By Robert Sheckley 

illustrated by Ed Emsh 



EDWARD ECKS awoke, yawned 
and stretched. He squinted at 
the sunlight pouring in through 
the op»en east wall of his one-room 
apartment, and ordered his clothes 
to come to him. 

They didn't obey! He wiped 
sleep from his eyes and ordered 
again. But the closet door remained 
stubbornly shut, and not a garment 
stirred. 

Thoroughly alarmed, Ecks swung 
out of bed and walked over to the 
closet. He began to phrase the 
mental command again, but 
stopped himself. He must not be- 
come panicky. If the clothes didn't 
obey, it was because he was still 
half asleep. 



51 



Deliberately he turned and 
walked to the east wall. He had 
rolled it up during the night and 
now he stood, bare toes gripping 
the edge, where the floor met the 
outside wall of the building, look- 
ing out at the city. 

It was early. The milkmen were 
out, soaring up to the terraces to 
deposit their milk. A man in full 
evening dress passed, flying like a 
wounded bird. Drunk, Ecks de- 
cided, noting how uncertain the 
man's levitation sense was. The 
man banked, narrowly missing a 
building, dodged a milkman, mis- 
judged the ground and fell the last 
two feet. Miraculously he held his 
balance, shook his head and con- 



52 



ROBERT SHECKLEY 



tiiiued on foot. 

Ecks grinned, watching him 
weave down the street. That was 
the safest place for him. No one 
ever used the streets, except the 
Normal's, or psi's who wanted to 
walk, for some reason. But levitat- 
ing in his condition, he might get 
clipped by a teleported bale, or 
break his neck against a building. 
A newsboy floated past the win- 
dow, goggles dangling from his hip 
pocket. The boy caught his breath 
and shot up, straight and true, to a 
twentieth floor penthouse. 

Ecks craned his neck to watch 
the boy land his paper on the surmy 
terrace and sweep on. A penthouse, 
Ecks thought. That was the life. 
He lived on the third floor of an 
ancient building — so old that it 
still had stairway and elevator. But 
once he had finished his courses at 
Mycrowski university — once he had 
his degree — 

There was no time for dream- 
ing. Mr. Ollen didn't like him to 
be late; and his job at Mr. Ollen's 
store enabled him to attend the 
University. 

Ecks walked back, opened the 
closet and dressed. Then, thorough- 
ly calm, he ordered the bed to 
make itself. 

A blanket half-lifted, wavered, 
and fell back on the bed. He or- 
dered again, angrily. The sheets 
sluggishly straightened, the blan- 
kets slowly crawled into place. The 
pillow wouldn't move. 

On the fifth order the pillow 
dragged itself to the head of the 
bed. It had taken him almost five 
minutes to make the bed— a task 
he iisvially finished in seconds. 
A shocking realization struck 



him, and his knees buckled; he sat 
down on the edge of the bed. He 
wasn't even able to handle simple 
motor-response teleportation. 

And that, he knew, was how peo- 
ple discovered they had The 
Disease. 

But why? How had it begun? He 
didn't have any unexplained ten- 
sions, any vital, unresolved prob- 
lems. At twenty-six life was just be- 
ginning for him. His studies at the 
University were going well. He's 
general psi rating was in the upper 
tenth, and his sensitivity rating ap- 
proached the all-time high set by 
The Sleeper. 

Why should it happen to him? 
Why should he catch the only 
disease left on Earth? 

"I'll be damned, I don't feel 
sick," he said out loud, wiping pers- 
piration from his face. Quickly he 
commanded the wall to close, just 
to see if it would. And it did! He 
turned on a faucet by mental com- 
mand, levitated a glass, filled it and 
brought it to him, vwthout spilling 
a drop. 

"Temporary blockage," he told 
himself. "A fluke." Perhaps he had 
been studying too hard. More so- 
cial life, that was what he needed. 
He sent the glass back to the 
sink, watching the sunlight glint 
from it as is swooped through the 
air. 

"I'm as good as I ever was," he 
said. 

The glass dropped to the floor, 
shattering. 

"Just a little shaky," he reas- 
sured himself. Of course, he should 
go to Psi-Health for an examina- 
tion. If there is any impairment of 
your psi abilities, don't wait. Don't 



CARRIER 



53 



infect others. Get an examination. 

Well, should he? Yes, he prob- 
ably should. 

But the Psi-Health agents were a 
jumpy bunch. If he showed his face 
they'd probably isolate him. Give 
him a few years of solitary rehabili- 
tation, just to play safe. 

That would be the end of him. 
Highly extroverted, Ecks knew him- 
self well enough to realize that he 
could never stand solitary. His psi 
abilities would be completely 
wrecked that way. 

Nuts, he said, and walked to the 
wall. Opening it, he looked out on 
the three story drop, steeled him- 
self, and jumped. 

For a horrible moment, he 
thought he had forgotten even the 
basic skill of levitation. Then he 
caught it, and soared toward Mr. 
Ollen's store. Weaving slightly, like 
a wounded bird. 



PSI-HEALTH Headquarters on 
the eighty-second-floor of the 
Aerinon Building hummed with ac- 
tivity. Messengers levitated in and 
out the great windows, flying across 
the room to drop their reports on 
the Receiving desk. Other reports 
were teleped in, recorded by Psi- 
Grade-Three telepathic-sensitive 
office girls. Samples were teleported 
through the windows, recorded, 
and shuttled downstairs by Grade 
Two Polters. A skinny Grade Four 
psi girl collected the typed reports 
and levitated them across the room 
in a steady stream to the file clerks. 
Three messengers swept in 
through a single window, laughing, 
barely clearing the jambs, and shot 
across the room. One, misjudging 



his arc, intercepted the path of re- 
ports. 

"Why don't you look where 
you're going?" the Grade Four 
girl asked angrily. Her bridge of 
papers was scattered across the 
floor. She levitated them again. 

"Sorry, honey," the messenger 
said, grinning and handing his re- 
port to the receiving desk. He 
winked at her, looped over the 
white stream, and shot out the 
window. 

"Some nerve," the girl mur- 
mured, watching him streak into 
the sky. Without her attention, the 
papers began to scatter again. 

The end-product of all the activ- 
ity was funneled to the orderly 
black desk of Senior Health Officer 
Paul Marrin. 

"Anything wrong, chief?" Mar- 
rin looked up and nodded to his as- 
sistant, Joe Leffert. Silently he 
handed him five file cards. 

They were breakdown reports. 
Leffert scanned the first one rap- 
idly. 

"Jane Martinelli, waitress. Silver 
Cow, 4543 Broadway. Subject: 
Loss of psi ability. Observations: 
Discoordination of psi motor func- 
tions. Diagnosis: Acute loss of con- 
fidence. Infectious. Recommended: 
Quarantine, indefinite period." 

The other reports were about 
the same. 

"Quite a few," Leffert said, his 
tone perfectly even. 

Another pile of cards was 
dropped on the black desk. Marrin 
leafed through them rapidly, his 
face impassive. The impassivity 
was niental as well. Not a thought 
leaked out of his rigidly held mind. 

"Six more." He turned to a large 



54 



ROBERT SHECKLEY 



map behind his desk and pinpoint- 
ed the new locations. They formed 
an irregular pattern across almost 
a third of New York. 

Leffert didn't have to speak. 
Even undirected, his teleped 
thought was strong enough, for 
Marrin to catch. 

Epidemic! 

"Keep that to yourself," Marrin 
sai9 in his normal low voice. He 
walked slowly back to his desk, con- 
sidering the implications of eleven 
cases in a single day, when their 
average was one a week. 

"Get me the full reports on these 
people," Marrin said, handing Lef- 
fert the file cards. "I want a list of 
everyone they've been in contact 
with over the past two weeks. And 
keep quiet about it." Leffert hurried 
away. 

Marrin thought for a moment, 
then teleped Krandall, chief of The 
Sleeper project. Normally, teleped 
messages were handled through a 
series of telepathic-sensitive girls ; 
there were just too many minds for 
most people to make contact easily, 
without auxiliary guidance. But 
Marrin's psi abilities were of un- 
usual strength. Also, he was strongly 
attuned to Krandall, having 
worked with him for many years. 

"What's up?" Krandall asked, 
and the accompanying identity- 
image had the full, indescribable 
flavor of the man. 

Quickly Marrin outlined the situ- 
ation. 

"I want you to find out if it's a 
random scattering, or if we've got 
a carrier to deal with," Marrin 
finished. 

"That'll cost you a supper," 
Krandall teleped. From the peri- 



pheral thoughts, Marrin knew that 
he was sitting on a pier at Sag 
Harbor, fishing. "A supper at The 
Eagles." 

"Fine. I'll have all the data. Is 
five- thirty all right?" 

"Please, my boy! Make it six- 
thirty. A man of my — ah — dimen- 
sions — shouldn't levitate too rapid- 
ly." The accompanying visual 
was of an overstuffed sausage. 

"At six-thirty, then." They broke 
contact. Marrin sat back and ar- 
ranged the papers on his desk in- 
to still neater piles. At the moment 
he wished he were a health officer 
in some earlier age, with a nice 
fat germ to hunt down. 

The source of The Disease was 
more subtle. 

Diagnosis: Acute Loss of Con- 
fidence. Try putting that under 
your microscope. 

He thought momentarily about 
the waitress, the first case on the 
files. Perhaps she had been stack- 
ing plates on a shelf. A doubt 
planted in her mind hours before, 
minutes before, blossomed. The 
plates fell. And a girl was seriously 
sick, horribly infected with man- 
kind's last disease. Loss of motor- 
coordination. So she had to go into 
solitary, in order not to infect any- 
one else. For how long? A day, a 
year. A life. 

But in the meantime, perhaps 
some of the customers had caught 
it from her. And spread it to their 
wives. . . 

He sat upright and teleped his 
wife. Her answering thought was 
quick and warm. 

"Hello, Paul!" 

He told her he would be work- 
ing late. 



CARRIER 



55 



"All right," she said, but her ac- 
companying thoughts were con- 
fused with a strong desire to know 
why, and the knowledge that she 
couldn't ask. 

"Nothing serious," he said in re- 
ply to the unspoken question, and 
regretted it instantly. Lies, untruths, 
half-truths — even little white lies — 
didn't telep well. Nevertheless, he 
didn't retract it. 

"All right Paul," his wife said, 
and they broke contact. 



FIVE O'CLOCK, and the office 
staff put away their papers and 
headed for the windows flying to 
their homes in Westchester Long 
Island and New Jersey. 

"Here's the stuff, chief," Leffert 
said flying up to the desk with a 
thick briefcase. "Anything else?" 

"I'd like you to stand by," Mar- 
rin said, taking the briefcase. 
"Telep a few more agents, also." 

"Right. Do you think something 
might break?" 

"I don't know. Better get some 
supper." Leffert nodded. His eyes 
grew blank, and Marrin knew he 
was teleping his wife in Green- 
wich, telling her he wouldn't be 
home tonight. 

Leffert left, and Marrin was left 
alone in the room, staring at the 
sunset. Out of the west window he 
could see the great red disk of the 
sun, and flitting across it were the 
black silhouettes of commuters, 
levitating home. 

Marrin felt very much alone. 
Just him and a probable epidemic. 

At exactly six-twenty, Marrin 
picked up the briefcase and levi- 
tated to The Eagles. 



THE EAGLES restaurant was 
two thousand feet above New 
York, suspended on the backs of 
200 men. The men were Grade One 
Psi laborers, government-tested for 
load capacity. As Marrin ap- 
proached, he saw them under the 
base of the building. The restaurant 
floated above them, easily sup- 
ported by their enormous combined 
psi strength. 

Marrin landed on the main 
guest deck, and was greeted by the 
head waiter. 

"How's everything, Mr. Mar- 
rin?" the waiter asked, leading him 
to a terrace. 

"Fine," Marrin said, as he al- 
ways did. 

"You should try our other place 
some time, Mr. Marrin. If you're 
ever near Miami, there's an Eagles 
there. Same high-quality food." 

And high-quality prices, Marrin 
thought, ordering a martini. The 
owner of the Eagles was making a 
fortune. Air-borne restaurants were 
common now, but Eagles had been 
the first, and was still the most pop- 
ular. The owner didn't even have 
to pay a New York property tax; 
when he wasn't open, he parked 
his restaurant in a pasture in Penn- 
sylvania. 

The terraces were starting to fill 
up when Krandall arrived, out of 
wind and perspiring. 

"My God," he gasped, sitting 
down. "Why aren't there any more 
airplanes? Bucked a head wind all 
the way in. Scotch on the rocks." 

The waiter hurried away. 

"Why do you have your emer- 
gencies on my day off?" Krandall 
asked, teleping the question. "Long 
distance flights are for the strong 



56 



ROBERT SHECKLEY 



young apes. I am a mental worker. 
How is your wife?" 

"The same," Marrin said. His 
face, schooled for years into a 
hejilth officer's blank mask, refused 
to smile now. He ordered his din- 
ner, and handed Krandall the brief- 
case. 

"Hmmm." Krandall bent over 
the pages, scanning them rapidly. 
His broad, good-natured face grew 
abstracted as he memorized the in- 
formation. 

Marrin looked across the terrace 
while Krandall absorbed the data. 
The sun was almost gone, and most 
of the land was in shadow. Beneath 
him, the lights of New York were 
winking on in the shaded areas. 
Above, the stars snapped on. 

Krandall ignored his soup, flip- 
ping the pages quickly. Before the 
soup was cold, he was through. 

"That's that," he said. "What 
shall we talk about?" Krandall was 
the finest psi calculator in the busi- 
ness. He had to be to head the im- 
portant Sleeper project. Like all 
calculators, he let his unconscious 
do the work. Once the data was 
committed, he ignored it. Uncon- 
sciously, the information was as- 
similated, examined, compared, 
synthesized. In a few minutes or 
hours he would have an answer. 
Krandall's great talent was com- 
pensated for in other ways, though. 
He couldn't pass a newsboy's test 
for levitation, and teleportation or 
tclekinetic manifestations were al- 
most out of the question for him. 

"Is there anything new with The 
Sleeper?" Marrin asked. 

"Still sleeping. Some of the boys 
cooked up a subconscious-infiltra- 
tion technique. They're trying that 



in a few days." 

"Do you think it will work?" 
Krandall laughed. "I give them 
a one-point-one probability. That's 
high, compared with some of the 
stuff they've tried." 

Krandall's brook trout was 
served, teleported fresh from the 
stream. Marrin' s steak followed. 

"Do you think anything will 
work?" Marrin asked. 

"No." Krandall's face was seri- 
ous as he looked at the lean, im- 
passive health officer. "I don't be- 
lieve the Sleeper will ever awaken." 
Marrin frowned. The Sleeper 
was one of Psi's most important 
projects, and its least successful. It 
had started about thirty years ago. 
Psi had been standard, but still 
unpredictable. It had come a long 
way in two hundred years from 
Rhine's halting experiments in ex- 
tra-sensory perception, but it still 
had a long way to go. 

Mycrowski took a lot of the wild- 
talent aspect frc>m psi. Classified as 
an extreme sensitive with genius- 
level psi abilities, Mycrowski was 
the outstanding man of his age. 

With men like Krandall, Myers, 
Blacenck and others, Mycrowski led 
the telekinesis projects, explored 
projection techniques, theorized on 
instantaneous transfer in teleporta- 
tion and examined the possibilities 
of new, undiscovered psi abilities. 

In his spare time he worked on 
his own pet ideas, and founded the 
School for Parapsychological Re- 
search, later changed to Mycrow- 
ski University. 

What really happened to him was 
argued for years. One day, Kran- 
dall and Blacenck found him lying 
on a couch with a bare whisper of 



CARRIER 



57 



pulse to show that he was alive. 
They were unable to revive him. 

Mycrowski had always believed 
that the mind was a separate and 
distinct entity from the body. It 
was believed that he had discovered 
a separation-projection technique 
for the mind. 

But the mind never returned. 

Others argued that his mind had 
simply snapped from too much 
strain, leaving him in a catatonic 
state. In any case, periodic attempts 
were made to awaken him, without 
success. Krandall, Myers and a few 
others had kept the project alive, 
but in a few years they had all the 
help they needed. The rare quality 
of Mycrowski' s genius was recog- 
nized. 

The tomb where the living body 
of Mycrowski, The Sleeper, vege- 
tated, became a tourists' shrine. 

"Haven't you any idea what he 
was looking for?" Marrin asked. 

"I don't think he did himself," 
Krandall said, starting his cherry 
jubilee. "Oddest damned man in 
the world. Didn't like to talk about 
anything until he could throw it in 
your face as done. None of us had 
any reason to think anything was 
going to happen. We were sure that 
the stars were right around the 
corner and immortality was follow- 
ing that." He shook his head. "Ah, 
youth, youth." 

Over the coffee Krandall looked 
up, pursed his lips and frowned. 
The assimilated data had synthe- 
sized. His conscious mind had the 
answer in a manner once called 
intuitive, until psi research pinned 
down the hidden factor as subcon- 
scious reasoning. 

"You know, Marrin, you've de- 



finitely got a growing epidemic on 
your hands. There's no random 
scattering of cases." 

Marrin felt his chest contract. 
He teleped the question tightly. "Is 
there a carrier?" 

"There is." Mentally, Krandall 
checked the names on his list. His 
subconscious had correlated the fre- 
quency factors, tabulated proba- 
bilities and sent up a "hunch". "His 
name is Edward Ecks. He is a stu- 
dent, living at 141 Fourth Avenue." 

Marrin teleped Leffert immedi- 
ately and told him to pick up Ecks. 

"Hold it," Krandall said. "I 
don't believe you'll find him there. 
Here's a probability-course of his 
movements." He teleped the infor- 
mation to Leffert. 

"Try his apartment first," Mar- 
rin told Leffert. "If he's not there, 
try the next probability. Til meet 
you downtown, in case we have to 
hunt him." He broke contact and 
turned to Krandall. "For the ex- 
tent of the emergency you'll work 
with me?" It was hardly a ques- 
tion. 

"Of course," Krandall said. 
"Health has top priority, and The 
Sleeper isn't going to be doing 
much moving. But I doubt if you'll 
have much trouble picking up Ecks. 
He should be completely crippled 
by this time." 



UPON LANDING, Ecks lost his 
balance and fell heavily to his 
knees. He got up at once, brushed 
himself oflf and started walking. A 
sloppy levitation, he told himself. 
So even that was going! 

The crumbling streets of the low- 
er New York slums were scattered 



58 



ROBERT SHECKLEY 



with Normals, people who had 
never mastered the basic psi power. 
This mass of land-borne people 
was a sight never seen in the more 
respectable uptown areas. Ecks 
moved into the crowd, feeling safer. 
He discovered, suddenly, that he 
was hungry. He went into a lunch- 
eonette, sat down at the empty 
counter and ordered a hamburger. 
The cook had one all ready. Ex- 
pertly he teleported it to a plate 
and, without watching, made the 
plate loop in the air and drop light- 
ly in front of Ecks. 

Ecks cursed the man's casual 
ability and reached for the ketchup. 
He expected the bottle to slide 
toward him, but it didn't. He 
looked at it for a moment, blankly, 
then stretched his arm. He'd have 
to watch his step, making a mis- 
take like that. 

Ecks was beginning to discover 
what it was like to be a cripple. 

Finished, he held out his hand, 
palm up, expecting the change in 
his pocket to come. But of course, 
it didn't. He cursed silently. He 
was so used to it — it didn't seem 
possible that he could have lost all 
his faculties at once. 

But he had, he knew. His uncon- 
scious had decided, and no amount 
of ;jurface assurance would help. 

The cook was looking at him 
oddly, so he reached quickly in his 
pocket, found the change 'and paid. 
He tried to smile at the cook, then 
hurried out the door. 

"Queer guy," the cook thought. 
He dismissed it, but down deep in 
his mind an appraisal was going 
on. Inability to command a bottle 
. . . Inability to command coins . . . 
Ecks walked down the crowded. 



grimy streets. His legs began to 
ache. He had never walked so 
much in his life. Around him were 
mixed groups of Normals and psi's. 
The Normals walked naturally, as 
they had all their lives. The psi's 
were awkward, unaccustomed to 
long stretches on foot. With relief 
they soared into their natural ele- 
ment, the air. People landed and 
took off, and the air was filled with 
teleported objects. 

Looking back, Ecks saw a well- 
dressed man drop out of the air 
and stop one of the walking psi's. 
He talked to him for a moment, 
then moved on. 

A health-agent! Ecks knew he 
had been traced. 

He twisted around a corner and 
started to run. 

The street lights became fewer 
as Ecks moved on, pushing his ach- 
ing legs. He tried to levitate, but 
couldn't get ofT the ground. 

In panic he tried to telep his 
friends. Useless. His telepathic 
sense had no power. 

The shock broke over him like 
an ocean wave, and he stumbled 
against a lamp post and hung on. 
The full realization came. 

In a world where men flew, he 
was landbound. 

In a world of telepathic contact, 
he was reduced to clumsy words at 
face-to-face distance. 

In a world where artificial light 
was unnecessary, he could see only 
when his eyes were stimulated. 
Crippled. Blind, deaf and dumb. 
He walked on, into narrower 
streets, dingy, damp alleys. His 
numbed mind started working 
again. He had one advantage. His 
blunted mind could no longer 



CARRIER 



59 



broadcast a strong identity-pattern. 
That would make him more dif- 
ficult to find. 

What he needed, he decided, 
was a sanctuary. Some place where 
he wouldn't infect anyone, and 
where the health officers couldn't 
find him. Perhaps he could find a 
Normal bojirding house. He could 
stay there and study, find out what 
was wrong with him ; treat himself. 
And he wouldn't be alone. Nor- 
mals were better than no people at 
all. 

He came to the end of an alley, 
where the streets branched off. 
Automatically he pushed out his 
location sense, to find out what was 
ahead. 

Useless. It was paralyzed, as dead 
as the rest of him. But the right- 
hand turn seemed the safest. He 
started for it. 

"Don't!" 

Ecks whirled, alarmed at the 
spoken word. A girl had come out 
of a doorway. She ran to him. 

"They're waiting for you in 
there. Don't go!" 

"Who's waiting for me?" Ecks 
asked, his heart pounding like a 
triphammer. 

"The health officers. They fig- 
ured you'd take the right turn. 
Something about your right-hand 
tropism, I couldn't hear it all. Take 
the street on your left." 

Ecks looked at her closely. At 
first he thought she was about fif- 
teen years old, but he revised his 
estimate to twenty. She was small, 
slender with large dark eyes in a 
bony face. 

"Why are you helping me?" he 
asked. 

"My uncle told me to," the girl 



said. "Hurry!", 

There was no time to argue. 
Ecks walked in the alley, following 
the girl. She ran ahead, and Ecks 
had trouble keeping up with her. 

She was a Normal, to judge by 
her sure stride. But how had she 
overheard the health-officer's con- 
versation? Almost certainly they 
had teleped on a tight beam. 

Her uncle, perhaps? 

The alley opened into a court- 
yard. Ecks raced in, and stopped. 
From the tops of the buildings men 
floated down. They dropped quick- 
ly, surrounding him. 

The health officers! 

He looked around, but the girl 
had darted back into the alley. The 
way was blocked for him. He 
backed against a building, wonder- 
ing how he could have been so 
stupid. Of course! This was how 
they liked to take people. Quietly, 
so no one else would become in- 
fected. 

That damned girl! He tightened 
his aching legs, to run for it . . . 



JUST AS Krandall predicted, 
Marrin thought. "Take his 
arms and legs." Hovering fifty feet 
in the air, he supervised the opera- 
tion. 

Without pity he watched. The 
agents moved in cautiously. They 
didn't want to use the force of 
their minds against him if they 
could help it. 

After all, the man was a cripple. 

They had almost reached him, 
when — 

Ecks started to fade. Marrin 
dropped closer, unable to believe 



60 



ROBERT SHECKLEY 



his eyes. Ecks was dissolving into 
the wall, becoming a part of it, 
disappearing. 

Then he was gone. 

"Look for a door!" Marrin 
teleped. "Examine the pavement!" 

While his agents were looking, 
Marrin considered what he had 
seen. After the initial surprise, he 
didn't doubt it. The search for a 
door was an excuse for his agents. 
If they thought the man had dis- 
appeared through a hidden door, 
good. It wouldn't help their con- 
fidence — their sanity — to believe 
what had actually happened. 

The cripple, Ecks, merging with 
the wall. 

Marrin ordered a search of the 
building. But there wasn't a trace 
of Ecks' thought pattern. He was 
gone, as though he had never been. 

But how, Marrin asked himself. 
Did someone help him? Who? 

Who would help a carrier? 



THE FIRST thing Ecks saw 
when he returned to conscious- 
ness was the cracked, stained plas- 
ter wall in front of him. He stared 
at it for a long time, watching dust 
motes floating in the sunlight, 
across the bed's torn brown blanket. 

The bed! Ecks sat up and looked 
around. He was in a dingy litde 
room. Long cracks ran across the 
ceiling. Aside from the bed, the 
only other piece of furniture was a 
plain wooden chair, set neaa" the 
half-open door. 

But what was he doing here? 
He remembered the events of last 
night; it must have been last night, 
he (Ipcided. The blank wall, the 
health officers. He must have been 



rescued. But how? 

"How do you feel?" A girl's 
voice asked from the door. Ecks 
turned, and recognized the pale, 
sensitive face. It was the girl who 
had warned him last night. 

"I feel all right," Ecks said. 
"How did I get here?" 

"My uncle brought you," the 
girl said, coming into the room. 
"You must be hungry." 

"Not especially," Ecks said. 

"You should eat," she told him. 
"My uncle tells me that dematerial- 
ization is quite a strain on the nerv- 
ous system. That's how he rescued 
you from the psi's, you know." She 
paused. "I can give you some very 
nice broth." 

"He dematerialized me?" Ecks 
asked. 

"He can do things like that," the 
girl said serenely. "The power came 
to him afterwards." She walked 
over and opened the window. 
"ShaU I get the broth?" 

Ecks frowned at her. The situa- 
tion was becoming unreal, at a 
time when he needed his fullest 
grasp on reality. This girl seemed 
to consider it perfectly normal to 
have an uncle with the power of 
dematerialization — although psi sci- 
ence had never discovered it. 

"Shall I get the broth?" she 
asked again. 

"No," Ecks said. He wondered 
what the repeated emphasis on 
food might mean. There was noth- 
ing in the girl's face to tell him. 
She was handsome enough, even 
in a cheap, unbecoming dress. She 
had unusually dark eyes, and an 
unusually calm expression. Or lack 
of expression, really. 

He filed his suspicions for the 



CARRIER 



61 



moment, and asked, "Is your uncle 
a psi?" 

"No," the girl said. "My imcle 
doesn't hold with psi powers. His 
strength Is spiritual." 

"I see," Ecks said, and he 
thought he had the answer. 
Throughout history, people had 
preferred to believe that their nat- 
ural psi gifts were the product of 
demon intervention. Strange powers 
were the devil's gift until psi reg- 
ularized and formularized them. 
And even in this day there were 
gullible Normals, people who pre- 
ferred to believe that their occa- 
sional flashes of supernormal power 
were spirit-guided. Evidently the 
uncle fell into this category. 

"Has your uncle been able to do 
this sort of thing long?" Ecks asked. 
"Only for about five years," she 
said. "Only since he died." 

"Perfectly correct," a voice said. 
Ecks looked around quickly. The 
voice seemed to come from behind 
his shoulder. 

"Don't look for me," the voice 
said. "All that there is of me in 
this room is a voice. I am the spirit 
of Can's Uncle John." 

Ecks had a quick moment of 
panic before he realized the trick. 
It was a teleped voice, of course; 
cleverly focused and masked to give 
the effect of speech. A teleped voice 
meant only one thing; this was a 
psi passing himself off as a spirit. 
"Mr. Ecks," the voice said, clev- 
erly simulating the effects of spoken 
words, "I have rescued you by the 
intervention of my powers. You are 
a crippled psi, a carrier. Capture 
and isolation are, I believe, dis- 
tasteful to you. Is that not true?" 
"Perfectly," Ecks said. He probed 



with his blunted senses for the 
source of the voice. The imitation 
was perfect; not a single image 
leaked, to show the telepathic-hu- 
man source. 

"You feel, perhaps, a certain 
gratitude toward me?" the voice 
asked. 

Ecks looked at the girl. Her face 
was still expressionless. "Of course 
I do," he said. 

"I know your desires," Uncle 
John told him. "You wish sanc- 
tuary for a sufficient time to re- 
store your powers. And you shall 
have it, Edward Ecks. You shall 
have it." 

"I'm very grateful," Ecks said. 
His mind was working quickly, try- 
ing to decide upon a course of ac- 
tion. Was he expected to keep up 
the pretense of believing in this 
spirit? Surely the - teleping psi 
knew that no university-trained 
person was going to accept some- 
thing like that. On the other hand, 
he might be dealing with a neuro- 
tic, playing spirit for his own rea- 
sons. He decided to play along. 
After all, he wasn't interested in 
the man's pretensions. What mat- 
tered was the sanctuary. 

"You would not, I am certain, 
object to doing me a small favor," 
Uncle John said. 

"What do you want me to do?" 
Ecks asked, immediately on his 
guard. 

"I sense your thought," the 
voice said. "You think diere may 
be danger involved. I assure you, 
such is not the case. Although I am 
not omnipotent, I have certain 
powers unknown to you — or to psi 
science. Accept that fact. Surely 
your rescue proves it. And accept 



62 



ROBERT SHECKLEY 



that I have your best interests at 
heart." 

"When do I find out about this 
errand?" Ecks asked. 

"When the time is right. For 
now, goodbye, Edward Ecks." The 
voice was gone. 

Ecks sat down in the chair. He 
had had two possible explanations 
before; that the "uncle" was a psy- 
chotic, or a psi. Now he had an- 
other. 

What if the uncle was a mutant 
psi? The next evolution in the pro- 
cession. What then? 

Cari left and returned with a 
bowl of soup. 

"What was your uncle like?" 
Ecks asked the girl. "What sort 
of man was he — ^when he was 
alive?" 

"Oh, he was a very nice man," 
she said, holding the steaming soup 



carefully. "He was a shoemaker. 
He raised me when my father 
died." 

"Did he ever show any signs of 
psi power? Or supernatural pow- 
er?" 

"No," Cari said. "He led a quiet 
life. It was only after he died — " 

Ecks looked at the girl with pity. 
She was the saddest part of the 
whole thing. The psi had undoubt- 
edly read her mind, found the dead 
uncle — and the gullibility. And 
used her as his pawn. A cruel game. 

"Please eat the soup," she said. 
He reached for it automatically, 
glancing at her face. Then he 
pulled back his hand. 

"You eat it," he said. The first 
tinge of color came into her cheeks. 

With an apology, she started on 
the soup, spilling some in her 
eagerness. 




CARRIER 



63 



THE SAILBOAT heeled sharp- 
ly, and Marrin let out a foot of 
mainsail to steady it. His wife, 
seated on the bow, waved to him, 
enjoying the plunging motion. 

Below, he could see a bank of 
thunderheads, a storm in the mak- 
ing. 

"Let's have our picnic on those 
clouds over there," Myra said, 
pointing to a wispy cirrus forma- 
tion, bright and sunny above the 
thunderheads. Marrin changed 
course. Myra lay back on the bow, 
her feet propped against the mast. 

Marrin was holding the entire 
weight of the boat himself, but he 
scarcely noticed it. The light rig 
weighed less than two hundred 
pounds, sail and all. His and Myra's 
combined weight added about two 
hundred and sixty pounds more, 
but Marrin's tested levitation ca- 
pacity was over two tons. 

And the wind did most of the 
work. All the operator of the boat 
did was to supply enough power to 
keep it in the air. The wind drove 
it, a twisting white feather. 

Marrin couldn't get his mind off 
the carrier. How in hell had Ecks 
disappeared? Dematerialization — 
impossible! And yet there it was. 

Ecks, into the wall. And gone, 
without a thought-trace. 

"Stop thinking," Myra said. 
"Your doctor told you not to think 
about anything but me today." He 
knew that his thoughts hadn't 
leaked; nor had his face changed. 
But Myra was sensitive to his 
moods. He didn't have to grimace 
for her to know he was happy, or 
cry to demonstrate sadness. 

Marrin brought the light, flat 
boat to a stop in the clouds, and. 



heading into the wind, dropped the 
sail. They spread their picnic on 
the bow of the boat. Marrin did 
most of the leviating, although My- 
ra was trying . . . gallantly. 

As she had been trying for seven 
years, since her partial infection by 
a carrier. Although her psi facul- 
ties never left her completely, they 
were spasmodic. 

Another reason for hunting down 
Ecks. 

The sandwiches Myra made 
were very like herself; small and 
decorative. And tasty, Marrin 
thought, teleping the thought. 

"Beast," Myra said out loud. 
The warm sun beat down on them, 
and Marrin felt wonderfully lazy. 
The two of them stretched out on 
the deck of the boat, Marrin hold- 
ing it up by reflex. He was more 
relaxed than he had been in weeks. 

"Marrin!" 

Marrin started, awakened out of 
near-sleep by the teleped voice. 

"Look, I'm awfully sorry, boy." 
It was Krandall, embarrassed and 
apologetic. 

"I hate breaking in on your day, 
but I've got a lead, and a pretty 
damned good one. Evidently some- 
one doesn't like our carrier. I've 
just been told where he'll be in 
about four hours. Of course, it may 
be a crank, but I knew you'd want 
to know — " 

"I'm coming," Marrin said. "We 
can't afford to pass up anything." 
He broke contact and turned to 
his wife. "I'm terribly sorry, dear." 

She smiled, and her eyes were 
clear with understanding. She 
hadn't been included in Krandall's 
tight-beam message, but she knew 
what it meant. 



64 



ROBERT SHECKLEY 



"Can you take It down yourself?" 
Marrin asked. 

"Of course. Good hunting." Mar- 
rin kissed her and jumped off the 
boat. He watched for a few sec- 
onds, to see that she had it under 
control; then he teleped the rental 
service. 

"My wife's bringing it in," he 
told them. "I wish you'd keep an 
eye on her." They promised. Now, 
even if she went out of control 
there'd be no danger. 

Marrin hurled himself down. He 
was so busy calculating the rate of 
disease increase that he barely saw 
the dagger in time. 

It flashed past him, then turned, 
twenty feet away, and came again. 
Marrin reached out for it mentally, 
but the telekineticized knife broke 
free. He barely deflected it, grap- 
pled, and had it in his hand. Quick- 
ly he tried to trace the wielder, 
but he was gone without a trace. 

Not quite without a trace. Mar- 
rin was able to catch the tail end 
of an identity thought, the hardest 
kind to control. He puzzled over 
it, trying to place the image. Then 
he had it. 

Ecks! 

Ecks, the cripple. Blind Ecks, the 
carrier, who vanished into walls. 
And who, evidently, could polter a 
dagger. 

Or had someone do it for him. 

Grimly, with the growing aware- 
ness that it was turning into a per- 
sonal affair, Marrin levitated into 
the Psi-Health Offices. 



IN THE darkened room, Edward 
Ecks lay on the tattered brown 
blanket. His eyes were lightly 



closed, his body passive. Little mus- 
cles in his legs jumped. He willed 
them to relax. 

"Relaxation is one of the keys to 
psi power. Complete relaxation 
calls forth confidence; fears disap- 
pear, tensions evaporate. Relaxa- 
tion is vital to psi." Ecks told him- 
self this, breathing deeply. 

Don't think about the disease. 
There is no disease. There is only 
rest, and relaxation. 

The leg muscles slackened. Ecks 
concentrated on his heart, order- 
ing it to pump more easily. He sent 
orders to his lungs, to breathe deep- 
ly and slowly. 

Uncle John? He hadn't heard 
from him for almost two days now. 
But he mustn't think of him. Not 
now. An unexplained factor. Uncle 
John would be resolved in time. 
The awareness of deception, Ecks 
told himself, is the first step in 
finding out what the deception is. 

And what about the pale, hun- 
gry, attractive niece? Don't think 
about her, either. 

The unsettling memories sponged 
away as his breathing deepened. 
Next, the eyes. It was hard to relax 
the eyes. After-images danced 
across his retina. Sunlight. Dark- 
ness, a building, a disappearance. 

No. Don't think. 

"My eyes are so heavy," he told 
himself. "My eyes are made of 
lead. They want to sink — to sink — " 

Then his eye-muscles relaxed. 
His thoughts seemed calm, but 
just under the surface was a crazy 
welter of images and impressions. 

A cripple, through dim streets. 
A ghost that wasn't. A hungry 
niece. Hungry for what? A tur- 
moil of sense-impressions, flashes 



CARRIER 



65 



of red and purple, memories of 
classes in Mycrowsky University, 
tele-wrestling at the Palladium, a 
date at Sky top. 

All had to be smoothed down. 
"Relaxation is the first step toward 
reintegration." Ecks told himself 
that everything was blue. All 
thoughts were swallowed in a vast 
blue abyss. 

Slowly, he succeeded in calm- 
ing his mind. A deep peace started 
to seep into him, slowly, soothing- 
ly— 

"Edward Ecks." 

"Yes?" Ecks opened his eyes at 
once; the relaxation had been that 
superficial. He looked around and 
realized that it was the uncle's 
voice. 

"Take this." A small sphere 
darted into the room, and came to 
rest in front of Ecks. He picked it 
up and examined it. The sphere 
seemed to be made of some shiny, 
solid plastic. 

"What is it?" he asked. 

"You will place this sphere in- 
side the Gordeer Building," the 
voice of Uncle John told him, ig- 
noring the question. "Leave it on 
a desk, behind a door, in an ash- 
tray, anywhere. Then return di- 
rectly here." 

"What will the sphere do?" Ecks 
asked. 

"That is not your concern," the 
voice told him. "The sphere is the 
apex of a psychic triangle of forces 
which you do not understand. Suf- 
fice it to say that it will harm no 
one and will greatly aid me." 

"Every officer in the city is look- 
ing for me," Ecks said. "I'll be 
picked up if I go back to the main 
part of the city." 



"You have forgotten my powers, 
Ecks. You will be safe, if you keep 
to the route I map out for you." 

Ecks hesitated. He wanted to 
know more about the uncle, and 
his game. Above all, why was he 
masquerading as a spirit? 

Or was he? 

After all, what would a spirit 
have to do with Earth? The classic 
yarns of demons seeking temporal 
power were just so much muggy 
anthropomorphizing. 

"Will I be left alone after I get 
back?" Ecks wanted to know. 

"You have my word. Do this to 
my satisfaction and you will receive 
all the sanctuary you need. Now go. 
Cari has the route drawn up for 
you. She is waiting at the door." 

The voice was gone. Even with 
his blunted senses, Ecks could feel 
the withdrawn contact. 

With the sphere in his hand, he 
walked to the door. Cari was wait- 
ing. 

"Here are the instructions," she 
said. 

Ecks looked at her sharply. He 
wished he had some psi-abilities 
left. He would have given a good 
deal to know what was going on 
behind that quiet, pretty face. Psi's 
never bothered to read faces; ihe 
affective aura surrounding every 
individual was a far better indica- 
tor. 

If one had normal psi-sensitlvity 
to read it. 

"Have you eaten?" he asked. 

"Oh, yes," she said, following 
him outside. The sunlight was mo- 
mentarily blinding, after two days 
in the little room. Ecks blinked and 
looked around automatically. 
There was no one in sight. 



66 



ROBERT SHECKLEY 



They walked in silence for a 
while, following Uncle John's in- 
structions. Ecks glanced right and 
left, pitifully aware of his vulner- 
ability, on the lookout for detec- 
tion. The instructions laid out a 
devious, meaningless pattern for 
Ecks to walk; doubling back on 
streets, circling others. They ap- 
proached West Broadway, moving 
out of the slums into psi territory. 

"Has your uncle ever told you 
what he wishes to do?" Ecks asked. 

"No," Cari said. They walked 
in silence for a while longer. Ecks 
tried not to look at the sky, out of 
which he expected the psi officers 
to fall, like avenging angels. 

"Sometimes I'm afraid of Uncle 
John," Cari volunteered, after a 
few moments. "He's so strange, 
sometimes." 

Ecks nodded absently. Then he 
thought about the girl's position. 
Actually, she was worse off than he 
was. He knew the score. She was 
being used for some unknown pur- 
pose. She might well be in danger, 
although he didn't know why that 
should concern him. 

"Look," he said, "if anything 
happens, do you know the Angler's 
Bar on Sixth and Bleeker?" 

"No, but I could find it." 

"Meet me there, if anything 
goes wrong." 

"All right," she said. "Thank 
you." 

Ecks smiled wryly. How idiotic 
of him to offer her protection! 
When he couldn't even protect 
himself. At least, he told himself, 
it was an understandable urge. 
Even if he didn't quite understand 
it himself. 

They walked several more blocks. 



Then the girl looked at Ecks nerv- 
ously. 

"There's one thing I don't un- 
derstand," she said. 

"What's that?" 

"Well," she began, "I sometimes 
can see things that are going to be. 
I never know when, but just some- 
times I have a picture of something. 
Then in a little while it happens." 

"That's interesting," Ecks said. 
"You're probably an undeveloped 
clairvoyant. You should go to My- 
crowski University. They're always 
looking for people like you." 

"So far, everything I've seen has 
turned out right," she said. 

"That's a nice record," Ecks 
told her. He wondered what the 
girl was driving at. Did she want 
praise? She couldn't be naive 
enough to believe that she was the 
only person in the world with latent 
clairvoyance. 

"So far my uncle has been right 
in everything he's said, too," she 
told him. 

"Very commendable," Ecks said 
acidly. He was in no mood for a 
family pangyric. They were ap- 
proaching Fourteenth Street, and 
the air was thick with psi's. A few 
people were walking — but very few. 

The Cordeer Building was three 
blocks ahead. 

"What I'm wondering is," she 
said, "if I see something happen- 
ing one way, and my uncle sees it 
happening the other way, which 
of us will be right?" 

"What do you mean?" Ecks said, 
taking her arm as they crossed a 
street filled with jagged rocks. 

"My uncle said you'd be safe," 
she said, "and I just don't under- 
stand." 



CARRIER 



67 



"What?" He stopped. 

"I think they're going to try to 
capture you." 

"When?" 

"Now," she said. Ecks stared at 
her, then stiffened. He didn't need 
psi power to know that the trap 
was sprung. 

The heahh men weren't being 
gentle this time. Telekinetic force 
jerked him off his feet. He looked 
for Cari, but the girl was gone. 
Then his head was forced pain- 
fully down, his hands and feet 
seized. 

Physically, not a hand had 
touehed him yet. 

Ecks fought wildly, in blind 
panic. Capture seemed to touch off 
some ultimate instability in his per- 
sonality. He tried desperately to 
snap the telekinetic bonds. 

He almost did. Power came. He 
freed an arm and managed to 
throw himself into the air. Fran- 
tically he tried for height. 

He was smashed to the pave- 
ment. 

Again he tried, a supreme ef- 
fort — 

And passed out. 

His last conscious thought was a 
realization that he had been 
tricked. The uncle — ^he determined 
to kill him, if the opportunity ever 
presented itself. 

And then there was blackness. 



A MEETING of World-Health 
was called at once. Marrin, in 
Psi headquarters in New York, 
opened the special channel. Chiefs 
in Rio, London, Paris, Canton, 
came into emergency circuit. 
Marrin's tightly organized in- 



formation was flashed around the 
world in less than a minute. At 
once he received a question. 

"I would like to know," the 
Health Chief from Barcelona 
asked, "how this Ecks person es- 
caped you twice." The thought car- 
ried its inevitable identity pattern. 
The Barcelona chief's face was 
dimly apparent; long, sad, mous- 
tached. Not his true face, of course. 
Identity patterns were always 
idealized in the manner the par- 
ticular mind viewed itself. Actual- 
ly, the Barcelonan might be short, 
fat and clean shaven. 

"The second escape was in 
broad daylight, was it not?" the 
Berlin chief asked, and the other 
chiefs glimpsed his broad, power- 
ful, idealized face. 

"It was," Marrin replied. "I can- 
not explain it." Marrin was seated 
at his black desk in Psi-Health. 
Around him hummed the normal 
activity of the day. He was una- 
ware of it. 

"Here is the complete sequence." 
It took longer to telep the scene- 
by-scene breakdown of the at- 
tempted rescue. 

After the attack by the poltered 
dagger, Marrin had assembled his 
men around the point where Kran- 
dall's informant said Ecks would 
appear. 

"This informant. Who — " 

"Later. Let him complete the 
sequence." 

Fifty agents covered the area. 
Ecks appeared on time, and in the 
indicated place. He was restrained 
with little difficulty, at first. Fight- 
ing, he showed a slight surge of 
latent strength; then he collapsed. 

At that moment his energy po- 



68 



ROBERT SHECKLEY 



tential took an explosive, exponen- 
tial jump. Ecks vanished. 

With Marrin's permission, his 
recollection of the moment was 
broken down and scrutinized more 
closely. The picture remained clear. 
One moment Ecks was there, the 
next, he was gone. 

The images were slowed to one 
a half second. In this running there 
was a blur of energy around Ecks 
just before he vanished. The energy 
was on so high a band that it was 
almost indetectable. 

There was no known explana- 
tion for it. 

The impressions of the partici- 
pating agents, as recorded by Mar- 
rin, were combed, with no positive 
result. 

"Would the Health-Chief from 
New York care to give his 
theories?" 

"Since Ecks is a cripple," Mar- 
rin said, "I can only assume that 
someone is helping him." 

"There is another possibility," 
the Warsaw Chief said. His idea- 
lized identity came through with 
the thought ; slim, whitehaired, gay. 
"Ecks may have stumbled on some 
undiscovered form of psi power." 

"That would appear to be be- 
yond the realm of probability," the 
sad-eyed Barcelonan teleped. 

"Not at all. Consider the emer- 
gence of the original psi faculties. 
They began as wild talents. 
Couldn't the next mutation begin 
in a wild talent stage?" 

"There are tremendous implica- 
tions in that," the London Chief 
said. "But if so, why hasn't Ecks 
utilized it to greater advantage?" 

"He is probably unaware of it. 
But he has an inherent protection 



system, perhaps, which shunts him 
out of danger at stress moments." 

"I don't know," Marrin said 
dubiously. "It is a possibility, of 
course. We are well aware that 
there are many untouched secrets 
of the mind. Still. . ." 

"An argument against your 
theory," the Warsaw Chief broke 
in, teleping directly to Marrin, "is 
the fact that anyone helping Ecks 
would necessarily have this extra- 
psi power. They would have to, to 
affect an almost instantaneous dis- 
appearance. If they did have it, 
wouldn't they have more of a plan 
— less randomness — " 

"Or seeming randomness," the 
Londoner said. "It could be a test 
of strength. By dangling Ecks in 
front of Marrin, such a group 
could determine a good deal about 
his capabilities and, by extrapola- 
tion, the capabilities of all psi's. 
The repeated inability to capture 
Ecks would be meaningful. 

"It's a possibility," Marrin said 
cautiously. Academically, he found 
the discussion interesting. But it 
didn't seem to be serving any prac- 
tical good. 

"What about Krandall's inform- 
ant?" the Barcelonan teleped. "Has 
he been questioned?" 

"He has never been found," Mar- 
rin said. "The sender was able to 
block all identity-thoughts and he 
left no trace to follow." 

"What do you plan to do?" 

"First," Marrin said, "to alert 
you. That is the purpose of the 
meeting, since the carrier might 
well get out of New York. Also, 
the disease rate here has passed 
the minimum epidemic level. It 
can be expected to spread, even 



CARRIER 



69 



though I'm closing the city." He 
paused and wiped his forehead. 

"Second, I'm going to trace Ecks 
myself, working on a new set of 
probability locations supplied by 
Krandall. Working alone, I'll be 
able to avoid all thought haze and 
deflection. It's just possible one 
may do what many cannot." 



MARRIN DISCUSSED it with 
them for half an hour longer, 
then broke contact. He sat for a 
few moments, moodily sorting 
papers. Then he shrugged off his 
mood of despair and went to see 
Krandall. 

Krandall was in his office at the 
tomb of The Sleeper. He grunted 
hello when Marrin levitated in and 
motioned him to a chair. 

"I'd like to see those probability 
locations," Marrin said. 
; "Right," Krandall said. The end- 
product was quite simple: a list of 
streets and times. But to get that 
information, Krandall had corre- 
lated the total amount of data 
available. The locations of Ecks' 
disappearances, his reappearances, 
his psychological index, plus the 
added correlates of suitable hiding 
spots in the city where a cripple 
could stay undetected. 

"I think you stand a pretty 
good chance of finding him," Kran- 
dall said. "Of course, holding him 
is something else again." 

"I know," Marrin said. "I've 
come to a decision about that." He 
looked away from Krandall. "I'm 
going to have to kill Ecks." 

"I know," Krandall said. 

"What?" 

"You can't risk having him loose 



any more. Yotir infection rate is 
still rising." 

"That's right. The policy of the 
Health Board is to quarantine dis- 
eased persons. But this is a matter 
of public safety." 

"You don't have to justify it to 
me," Krandall said. 
^ "What do you mean?" Marrin 
got halfway to his feet, then sat 
down again and shook his head. 
"You're right. Evidently Ecks 
can't be captured. We'll see if he 
can be killed." 

"Good hunting," Krandall said. 
"I hope you have better luck on 
your project." 

"The Sleeper?" 

"The latest attempt flopped. Not 
a stir out of him." 

Marrin frowned. That was bad 
news. If they ever needed Mycrow- 
ski's intellect, it was now. My- 
crowski was the man to resolve 
these events into a related whole." 

"Would you like to see him?" 
Krandall asked. 

Marrin glanced at the probability 
list and saw that the first time- 
street fix was almost an hour oflf. 
He nodded, and followed Kran- 
dall. They went down a dim cor- 
ridor to an elevator, and then 
through another corridor. 

"You haven't ever been here, 
have you?" Krandall asked, at the 
end of the corridor. 

"No. But I helped draw up plans 
for the remodeling ten years ago." 

Krandall unlocked and opened 
the last door. 

In the brightly lighted room The 
Sleeper rested. Tubes ran into his 
arms, carrying the nutrient solu- 
tions that kept him alive. The bed 
he lay on slowly massaged The 



70 

Sleeper's flabby muscles. The 
Sleeper's face was blank and ex- 
pressionless, as it had been for 
thirty years. The face of a dead 
man, still living. 

"That's enough," Marrin said. 
"I'm depressed enough."^ 

They went back upstairs. 

"Those streets I gave you are in 
the slums," Krandall said. "Watch 
your step. Asociality is still present 
in such places." 

"I'm feeling pretty asocial my- 
self," Marrin said, and left. 

He levitated to the fringe of the 
slums, and dropped to the street. 
His sensitive, trained mind was 
keyed for stimulation. He walked, 
sorting impressions as he went, 
searching for the dull, almost ob- 
literated throb of the carrier's 
mind. Marrin' s web extended for 
blocks, siftmg, feeling, sorting. _ 

If Ecks was alive and conscious 
he would find him. 

And kill him. 



YOU FOOL! You incompetent! 
You imbecile!" The disem- 
bodied voice roared at Ecks. 

Bliurily, Ecks realized that he 
was back in Cari's house, in the 
slums. 

"I gave you a course to follow. 
Uncle John screamed, his voice 
bouncing against the walls. "You 
took the wrong tium!" 

"I did not," Ecks said, getting 
to his feet. He wondered vaguely 
how long he had been unconscious. 

"Don't contradict me! You did. 
And you must do it again!" 

"Just a minute," Ecks said even- 
ly. "I don't know what your game 
is, but I followed your instructions 



ROBERT SHECKLEY 

to the letter. I turned down every 
street you wrote down." 

"You didn't!" 

"Stop this farce!" Ecks shouted 
back. "Who in hell are you?" 

"Get out!" Uncle John roared. 
"Get out— or I'll kill you." 

"Be reasonable," Ecks said. "Just 
tell me what you want. Tell me 
what I'm supposed to do. Explain 
it. I don't work well in a mystery." 

"Get out," the voice said omin- 
ously. 

"I can't," Ecks said in despair. 
"Why don't you drop this spirit 
pose and tell me what it is you 
want? I'm a normal person. Health 
officers are everywhere. They will 
kill me too. I must first regain my 
abilities. But I can't — " 

"Are you going?" the voice 
asked. 

Ecks didn't answer. 

Invisible hands were at Ecks' 
throat. He jerked back. The grip 
tightened. Force battered him 
against the wall, chopping down at 
him. Ecks rolled, trying to escape 
the merciless beating. The air was 
alive with energy, hurling itself at 
him, crushing him, smothering 
him. 



MARRIN SENSED the increase 
in energy output at once. He 
traced it, got a fix and levitated to- 
ward the location, sifting through 
the energy manifestations for some 
identity pattern. 

Ecks! 

Marrin crashed through a flimsy 
wooden door, and stopped. He saw 
Ecks' crumpled body. 

Berserk force was alive in the 
room, undirected now. Suddenly, 



CARRIER 

Marrin found himself fighting for 
his hfe. Shielding, he smashed 
against the telekinetic power that 
surged around him. 

A chair was swept up and thrown 
at him. He deflected it, and was 
struck from behind by a pitcher. A 
bed tried to crush him against the 
wall. Avoiding it, he was struck in 
the back by a poltered table. A 
lamp shattered on the wall above 
his head, spraying him with frag- 
ments. A broom caught him behind 
the knees. 

Marrin shielded and located the 
psi power source. 

In the basement of the building. 

He sent a tremendous wave rip- 
pling across it, poltering chairs and 
tables with it. The attack stopped 
abruptly. The place was a shanj- 
bles of broken furniture. 

Marrin looked around. Ecks was 
gone again. He searched for his 
identity pattern, but couldn't lo- 
cate it. 

The man in the cellar? 

Also gone. But a trace was left 
behind! 

Marrin went through a window, 
following the trace thought. 
Trained for this work, he held con- 
tact with the attenuated, stifled 
thought as its owner shot into the 
city. He followed it through a 
twisting maze of buildings, and out 
into open air. 

One part of his mind was still 
able to prob for Ecks. No luck. 

But he had Ecks' accomplice, if 
he could hold him. 

He shortened the distance by 
fractions. Ecks' helper — and at- 
tacker — shot out of the city, head- 
ing West. 

Marrin followed. 



71 

A GLASS of beer, please," Ecks 
said, trying hard to catch his 
breath. It had been a long run. 
Luckily, the bartender was a Nor- 
mal, and a phlegmatic one at that. 
He moved stolidly to the tap. 

Ecks saw Cari at the end of the 
bar, leaning against the wall. 
Thank God she had remembered. 
He paid for his beer and carried 
it to where she was. 

"What happened?" she asked, 
looking at his bruised face. 

"Your nice uncle tried to kill 
me," Ecks said wryly. "A health- 
officer came bursting in, and I let 
them iight it out." Ecks had slipped 
out the door during the fight. He 
had counted on the insensitivity of 
his thought pattern to conceal him. 
Crippled, he was hardly able to 
broadcast an identity thought. For 
once, the loss of telepathic power 
was an asset. 

Cari shook her head sadly. "I 
just don't understand it," she said. 
"You may not believe this, but 
Uncle John was always a good 
man. He was the most harmless 
person I ever knew. I just don't 
understand — " 

"Simple," Ecks said. "Try to un- 
derstand this. That was not Uncle 
John. Some highly developed psi 
has been masquerading as him." 

"But why?" she asked. 

"I don't know," Ecks said. "He 
saves me, tries to get me captured 
again, then tries to kill me. It 
doesn't make sense." 

"What now?" she asked. 

Ecks finished his beer. "Now, 
the end," he said. 

"Isn't there some place we can 
go?" she asked. "Some place we 
can hide?" 



72 

"I don't know of any," Ecks 
said. "You'd better go on your 
own. I'm a risky person to be 
with." 

"I'd rather not," Cari said. 

"Why not?" Ecks wanted to 
know. 

She looked away. "I'd just rather 
not." 

Even without telepathy, Ecks 
had an intimation of what she 
meant. Mentally, he cursed. He 
didn't like the idea of having the 
responsibility of her. Psi Health 
must be getting desperate. They 
wouldn't pull any punches this 
time, and she might get hurt. 

"Go away," he said firmly. 

"No!" 

"Well, come on," he said. "We'll 
just have to get by as well as we 
can. The only thing I can think 
of is getting out of the city._ I 
should have done that at first, in- 
stead of playing spirit." Now it 
was undoubtedly too late. The psi 
officers would be checking every- 
one on foot. 

"Can you use that clairvoyance 
of yours?" he asked. "Is there any- 
thing you can see?" 

"No," she said sadly. "The 
future's a blank to me." 

That was how Ecks saw it, too. 



MARRIN SENSED that be had 
greater inherent "strength than 
the man he was pursuing. He de- 
tected the signs of weakening and 
pushed harder. 

The fugitive was visible now, a 
mile ahead of him doubling back 
toward the city. As he got closer, 
Marrin threw his telekinetic 
strength, pulling the man down. 



ROBERT SHECKLEY 

He clung doggedly. The man 
was slowing, fighting spasmodically. 
Marrin overhauled him, brought 
him down and pinned him to the 
ground. Coming down himself, he 
probed for an identity thought. 
And found one. 
Krandall! 

For a moment all he could do 
was stare. 

"Did you get Ecks?" Krandall 
teleped. The exertion had drained i 
the big man of everything. He lay, | 
face down fighting for breath. j 

"No. You were his backer all j 
along. Is that right?" i 

Krandall's thought was affirma- 
tive. 

"How could you! What were 
you thinking of? You know what 
the disease means!" 

"I'll explain later," Krandall 
panted. 
"Now!" 

"No time. You have to find 
Ecks." 

"I know that," Marrin said. "But 
why did you help him?" 

"I didn't," the fat man said, 
"Not really. I tried to kill him 
You must kill him." He dragged 
himself to his feet. "He's a far 
greater menace than you think. Be- 
lieve me, Marrin. Ecks must b 
killed!" 

"Why did you rescue him?" 
Marrin asked. 

"In order to put him back into 
danger," Krandall gasped. "I 
couldn't let you capture and isolate 
him. He must be killed." 
"Go on," Marrin said. 
"Not now," Krandall said. "I 
poltered the dagger at you, to make 
you consider Ecks a personal men- 
ace. I had to goad you to the 



CARRIER 

point where you woiild kill him." 

"What is he?" 

"Not now! Get him!" 

"Another thing," Marrin said. 
"You couldn't handle that amount 
of telekinetic power. Who was 
doing it?" , 

"The girl," Krandall said, sway- 
ing on his feet. "The girl Cari. I 
was posing as her uncle's spirit 
She's in back of it all. You must 
kill her, too." He wiped his stream- 
ing face. 

"I'm sorry I had to play it this 
way, Paul. You'll hear the whole 
story at the right time. Just take 
my word for it now." 

Krandall tightened his hands in- 
to fists and shook them at Marrin. 

"You must kill those two! Be- 
fore they kill everything you stand 
for!" 

The teleped thought had the ring 
of truth. Marrin took to the air 
again, contacting his agents. Briefly 
he gave his instructions. 

"Kill both of them," he said. 
"And pick up Krandall and hold 
him." 



ECKS TURNED down streets at 
random, hoping the lack of a 
plan would confuse the psi's. Every 
shadow seemed to have a meaning 
of its own. He waited for the men- 
tal bolt that would drop him. 

Why had the uncle tried to kill 
him? Impossible to answer. Why 
was he so seemingly important? 
Another unanswerable question. 
And the girl? 

Ecks watched her out of the 
comer of his eye. Cari walked si- 
lently beside him. Her face had 
some color now, and some anima- 



73 

tion. She seemed almost gay; per- 
haps freedom from the uncle was 
the reason for that. What other 
reason could there be? 

Because she was with him? 

The air was thick with the usual 
day's traffic. A load of ore was be- 
ing brought in, tons of it, ex- 
pertly shepherded by a dozen 
workers. Other cargoes were being 
flown in from Southern ports ; fruit 
and vegetables from Brazil, meat 
from Argentina. 

And psi officers. Ecks wasn't es- 
pecially surprised. The city was be- 
ing watched too thoroughly for a 
fly to escape, much less a crippled 
man. 

The psi officers dropped down, 
forming a tight mental linkage. 

"All right," Ecks called. "The 
hell with it, I give up." He decided 
that it was time he bowed to the 
inevitable. He had the girl to con- 
sider also. The psi's were probably 
tired of playing; this time, if he 
tried to escape, they might play 
for keeps. 

A bolt of energy sheered him off 
his feet. 

"I said I give up!" he shouted. 
Beside him, Cari fell also. Energy 
swept over them, twisting them, 
across the courtyard, increasing, 
building. 

"Stop it!" Ecks shouted. "You'll 
hurt — " He had time — an infini- 
tesimal fraction of a second — to 
realize fully his own feeling about 
the girl. He couldn't let anything 
happen to her. Ecks didn't have 
time to consider how or why; the 
feeling was there. 

A sad, bitter sensation of love. 

Ecks tried to get to his feet. The 
linked mental energy smashed him 



74 



ROBERT SHECKLEY 



down again. Stones and rocks were 
poltcred at him. 

Ecks realized that he wasn't go- 
ing to be allowed to surrender. 
They were going to kill him. 

And Cari. 

At first, it seemed as though it 
were a dream. He had become 
used to the possiblity of death in 
the last few days. He tried to 
shield, aware of his nakedness, tried 
to cover Cari. She doubled up as 
a pokered rock caught her in the 
stomach. Rocks hummed around 
them. 

Seeing Cari struck, Ecks could 
have burst with rage. He struggled 
to his feet and swayed two steps 
forward, hands outstretched. 

He was knocked down again. A 
section of wall started to collapse, 
pushed by psi force. He tried to 
drag Cari out of the way. Too late. 
The wall fell- 
In that moment Ecks bridged the 
gap. His tortured, overstrained 
mind performed the energy leap 
into the new potential. In that in- 
stant, contact and comprehension 
flooded his mind. 

The wall thundered down. But 
Ecks and Cari weren't under it. 

"Marrin!" 

Dully, the psi chief raised his 
head. He was back at his desk in 
Psi-Health. Again it had happened. 

"Marrin!" 

"Who is it?" the psi thief asked. 

"Ecks." 

Nothing could surprise him now. 
That Ecks was capable of tight- 
beam telepathy just didn't matter. 
"What do you want?" he asked. 

"I want to meet you. Name a 
place." 

"Wherever you wish," Marrin 



said, with the calmness of despair. 
Then curiosity overcame him. 
"How are you able to telep?" 

"All psi's can telep," Ecks said 
mockingly. 

"Where did you go?" Marrin 
asked. He tried to get a location 
on the message. But Ecks was 
easily managing the tight beam, 
allowing only the direct message 
to go through. 

"I want a little quiet," Ecks 
said. "So I'm in the tomb of The 
Sleeper. Would you care to meet 
me there?" 

"Coming," Marrin said, and 
broke contact. "Leffert," he said 
aloud. 

"Yes, Chief?" his assistant said, 
coming over. 

"I want you to take over until 
I get back. If I get back." 

"What is Ecks?" Leffert asked. 
"I don't know," Marrin said. "I 
don't know what powers he has. 
I don't know why Krandall wanted 
to kill him, but I concur in the 
judgement." 

"Could we bomb the tomb?" 
Leffert asked. 

"There's nothing faster than 
thought," Marrin answered. "Ecks 
has discovered some form of near- 
instantaneous transportation. He 
could be away before the bombs 
were dropped." He paused. "There 
is a way, but I'm not going to say 
any more. He might be listening in 
on this conversation." 

"Impossible!" Leffert said. "This 
is direct-talk. He couldn't — " 

"He couldn't escape," Marrin 
reminded him wearily. "We're 
through underestimating Mr. Ecks. 
Hereafter, consider him capable of 
anything." 



CARRIER 



75 



"Right," Leffert said dubiously. 

"Have you got the latest figures 
on the contagion rate?" Marrin 
asked, walking to the window. 

"They're way past epidemic. And 
the disease has jumped as far as 
the Rockies." 

"It can't be checked now," 
Marrin said. "We've been pushed 
off the cliff— on the wrong side. In 
a year we'll be lucky if there are 
a thousand psi's left in the world." 
He tightened his hands into fists. 
"For that alone I could cut Ecks 
into little pieces." 

He levitated out the window. 



THE FIRST thing Marrin saw 
when he entered The Sleeper's 
chamber was Mycrowski himself, 
still unconscious. Ecks and the girl 
were standing beside him. 

Marrin walked forward. 

"I'd like you to meet Carl," Ecks 
said, smiling. 

Marrin ignored the dazed-look- 
ing girl. "I'd like an explanation," 
he said. 

"Of course," Ecks said. "Would 
you like to know what I am,, to be- 
gin with?" 

"Yes," Marrin said. 

"I am the stage after psi. The 
para-psi." 

"I see. And this came — " 

"When you tried to kill Cari." 

"We'd better start somewhere 
else," Marrin said. He decided to 
hear the explanation first before 
taking the final step. "Why have 
you removed the nutrient pipes 
from The Sleeper?" 

"Because Mycrowski won't need 
them any more," Ecks said. He 
turned to The Sleeper, apd the 



room suddenly hummed with 
energy. 

"Good work, Ecks." For a mo- 
ment Marrin thought it was the 
girl who had teleped. Then he 
realized that it was Mycrowski! 

"He won't be fully conscious for 
a while," Ecks said. "Let me start 
at the beginning. As you know, 
thirty years ago Mycrowski was 
searching for the extra-psi powers. 
He split mind and body to find 
them. Then, having the knowledge, 
he was unable to get back in his 
body. It required a leap into a 
higher energy level to do that and, 
without a nervous system, at his 
command, he couldn't gather that 
power. No ordinary psi could help 
him, either. To attain the new level, 
all normal channels must be 
blocked and redirected, and a ter- 
rific strain is placed on the whole 
nervous system. 

"That is, essentially, the same 
method by which the first true psi's 
got their power." 

Marrin looked puzzled for a mo- 
ment, then asked, "Then you're 
not a mutation?" 

"Mutations have nothing to do 
with this. Let me go on. Mycrow- 
ski couldn't bridge the gap im- 
aided. He had to have a para-psi 
bridge the gap for him. That's 
where I come in." 

"It is also where you come in," 
Mycrowski, conscious now, teleped 
to Marrin. "And the girl, and 
Krandall. I was in telepathic con- 
tact with Krandall. Together we 
chose Ecks for the experiment. It 
couldn't be Krandall himself, be- 
cause his nervous system was not 
suitable. Ecks was picked for his 
temperament and sensitivity. And, 



76 



ROBERT SHECKLEY 



I misrht add, for his selfishness and 
suggestibility. Everything was pre- 
dicted, including Cari's role." 

Marrin listened coldly. Let them 
explain. He had an answer of his 
own. A final one. 

"First, the rechanneling. Ecks' 
psi senses were blocked. Then he 
was put in a position of stress ; in- 
cipient capture and isolation, both 
repugnent to his nature. When he 
failed to bridge the gap, Krandall 
rescued him, with my help. With 
Krandall posing as Cari's Uncle 
John we threatened his life, in- 
creasing the stress." 

"So that's what Krandall meant," 
Marrin said. 

"Yes. Krandall told you that you 
had to kill Ecks. That was true. 
You had to try. He told you that 
the girl was the key to the whole 
thing. And that was true also. Be- 
cause when Ecks' life and the girl's 
were threatened, it was the greatest 
stress we could bring to bear. He 
bridged the gap to the higher po- 
tential. Comprehension followed 
immediately." 

"And he gave you back your 
body," Marrin added. 

"And he gave me back my body," 
Mycrowski agreed. 

Marrin knew what he had to do, 
and he thanked God for the fore- 
sight of Psi-Health. Nevertheless, 
he delayed for a moment. 

"Then if I understand correctly, 
all this — the infection of Ecks, his 
miraculous rescues, all the devious- 
ncss you used, was designed to 
create a force great enough to get 
you back in your body?" 

"That's a part of it," Mycrowski 
said. "Another part is the creation, 
in Ecks, of another para-psi." 



"Very well," Marrin said. "It 
will interest you to know that Psi 
Health has always considered, as 
one possibility, the return of 
The Sleeper — insane. Against that 
eventuality, this room is wired for 
atomic explosion. All four walls, 
ceiling and roof are keyed to me. 
Atomic explosions are not instan- 
taneous, I realize." He smiled hum- 
orlessly. "But then, I doubt if para- 
psi transit is, either. 

"My thought-process are as fast 
as yours. I am going to explode 
this place." 

"You health men are a suspicious 
lot," Mycrowski said. "But why on 
earth would you want to do a 
thing like that?" Marrin noticed 
that he seemed genuinely surprised. 

"Why? Do you realize what you 
have done? You have regained 
your body. But the disease is un- 
controllable now. Psi science and 
all it stands for is destroyed, be- 
cause of your selfishness." Mentally, 
Marrin reached for the key. 

"Wait!" Ecks said. "Evidently 
you don't understand. There'll be 
a temporary disturbance, true. But 
it won't affect everyone at once. 
Diseased persons can be trained." 

"Trained? To what?" 

"Para-psi, of course," Ecks said. 
"A complete rechanneling is neces- 
sary to reach the next para-psycho- 
logical step. The disease is the 
initial point. The present level of 
psi is unstable, anyhow. If I didn't 
set it off, someone else would in a 
few years." 

"It'll be easier when we get a 

few more people to bridge the 

gap," Mycrowski said. "As in the 

first development of psi, the rest is 

(Continued on page 83) 



DoiCt lose any sleep over it tonight, but your watch is wrong, 
the days are getting longer (and we don't mean because spring 
is coming!) and, someday, your calendar is going to be obsolete! 



Hla,i 



It's About Time . . . " 



By R. S. Richardson 



TIME TRAVEL has always been 
one of the most fascinating as 
well as probably the most hopeless 
of the standard subjects of science- 
fiction. We have robots working for 
us, we can produce mutations in 
certain organisms at will, and 
everybody is agreed that we will 
soon be on our way to the moon 
and Mars. But so far as traveling 
in time is concerned we haven't 
been able to budge by so much as 
a single micro-jiflfy. You can search 
the pages of the Physical Review in 
vain for any mention of chronaga- 
tion. 

But although we are still stuck 
to the present moment as firmly 
as ever, there is an effect beginning 
to operate on our method of de- 
termining time somewhat analogous 
to that in H. G. WeUs' story "The 
New Accelerator". It will be re- 
called that the story dealt with a 
drug which had the magical effect 
of speeding up one's sense of dura- 
tion so that time seemed slowed 
down to a bare crawl. The effect 



77 



operating upon us works in the op- 
posite direction, so that the rest of 
the universe seems to be speeding 
up. So far as our daily lives are con- 
cerned we are as yet quite un- 
touched. But the effect is becom- 
ing painfully apparent in compar- 
ing the predicted places of the 
heavenly bodies with their observed 
positions. So much so that astron- 
omers are seriously urging that we 
alter our method of reckoning time, 
even to the extent of changing our 
fundamental unit of time itself. 

The trouble arises from the fact 
that all our calculations of the mo- 
tions of the planets are made using 
what is called Newtonian time. It 
is a smooth flowing sort of time 
that increases at a steady rate 
through the ages. It is the quantity 
"t" in the mathematical equations 
of motion. We feel confident that 
we can run Newtonian time back- 
ward or forward as far as we please 
without getting into trouble. New- 
tonian time is invariable — the same 
NOW as it was in 5000 B.C., or as 



78 

it will be in A.D. 5000. 

True Newtonian time is an ab- 
straction; an ideal which we shall 
probably never be able to realize 
completely in practice. But we do 
the best we can by taking some 
body, whose motion seems to cor- 
respond closely to Newtonian time, 
and tying our clocks to it. In doing 
so, we have to use some body that 
is fairly accessible to observation 
even though imperfect in other re- 
spects. Obviously we couldn't use 
the period of revolution of the in- 
ner satellite of Mars as a timekeep- 
er because it is too confounded 
hard to observe. 

For centuries the rotation of the 
earth has served as our funda- 
mental timekeeper. In many re- 
spects it is nearly ideal. Its rate of 
rotation, as evidenced by the mo- 
tion of the stars across the sky, is 
readily accessible to observation, af- 
fording us with a precise and com- 
paratively easy means of checking 
on our imperfect man-made time- 
pieces. 

We are all very conscious of time 
and know in a vague way that it is 
obtained in some way from the 
stars. But how? There are people 
who pride themselves on knowing 
all about the nucleus of the atom 
and the curvature of space but who 
couldn't tell you how we know 
when to blow the twelve o'clock 
whistle. 



THE STARS appear to be set on 
the inner surface of a sphere 
which turns at the same rate that 
the earth rotates. This turning 
sphere is our clock. All the way 
around the sphere are bright stars 



R. S. RICHARDSON 

which we use in telling the time 
in the same way that we use the 
numerals on the dial of a watch. 
Think of these stars as actually 
having numerals attached to them 
in the sky. Then when one of these 
stars crosses your meridian — an im- 
aginary line passing through your 
zenith to the north and south — the 
numeral tells you the time. If the 
numeral on the star is 8 hours 10 
minutes, then your clock should 
read 8 hours 10 minutes. If the 
clock says the time is 8 hours 15 
minutes, then it is 5 minutes fast. 
A clock that keeps time this way 
according to the stars is a sidereal 
clock. 

A sidereal clock is a perpetual 
source of wonder to the visitors to 
an observatory. They simply can't 
figure it out. The first thing they do 
upon coming into the dome is to 
compare their watch with the 
sidereal clock. Generally the two 
are hours apart. After while they 
put their watch away and decide 
that it is one more thing they can't 
understand about an astronomical 
observatory. 

The reason the two clocks don't 
agree is because the watch in your 
pocket is rated to keep time — ^not 
according to the stars — ^but accord- 
ing to the sun. And a day by the 
sun is about 4 minutes longer than 
a day by the stars. The stars are 
(nearly) fixed in the sky. But the 
sun is always moving eastward 
among the stars at the rate of about 
a degree a day. If the earth had 
no atmosphere, like the moon, you 
could easily follow the motion of 
the sun against the background of 
the stars. Now it takes the earth 
about 4 minutes to rotate through 



'IT'S ABOUT TIME 



79 



this one degree that the sun moves 
in a day. Hence the solar days are 
about 4 minutes longer than the 
sidereal days. As a result, a sidereal 
clock is always gaining on the watch 
in your pocket. 

A sidereal clock is also set to 
show time in a different way from 
your pocket watch. It is "sidereal 
noon" when an imaginary point in 
the sky called the vernal equinox is 
on your meridian. There is noth- 
ing in the sky to mark it but you 
can think of it as being represented 
by the sign V intended to represent 
the horns of a ram. When the sun 
crosses the vernal equinox, about 
March 21st, that is the time spring 
begins. Ever wonder why they have 
a goat or ram on all those bock 
beer signs? Well, bock beer is made 
in the spring. And years ago the 
vernal equinox used to be in the 
constellation of Aries the Ram. The 
equinox has slid back into the con- 
stellation of Pisces the Fishes, but 
the horns of a ram are still used to 
mark its position. 

But we regulate our lives by the 
sun and not the vernal equinox. We 
want a clock that is tied to the sun. 
A clock that reads noon when the 
sun, and not the vernal equinox, 
is on our meridian. 

Regardless of how carefully you 
rated a clock, however, you never 
could make it keep in exact time 
with the sun. The trouble is not 
with the clock but with the motions 
of the earth which are reflected in 
the motion of the sun. The sun 
moves eastward at such an irreg- 
ular rate that no two solar days are 
quite the same length. The differ- 
ence between them doesn't amount 
to much. The extreme range dur- 



ing the year is only 51 seconds. Yet 
this is far too much for precision 
timekeeping. We can't use the sun 
directly as our standard timekeep- 
er. (Incidentally the longest day 
of the year happens to come on 
December 23 which we ordinarily 
consider to be the shortest day of 
the year. Here is a good chance to 
get a bet out of your friends.) 



SINCE THE sun doesn't move as 
we would like it, we proceed to 
invent one that does. Our clocks 
are geared to run at the same rate 
as a purely imaginary sun that 
moves at the same average or mean 
rate as the real sun. We call this 
body the mean sun. All the mean 
solar days are the same length. We 
divide a mean solar day into 86,400 
equal parts and call them seconds. 
And this mean solar second is our 
fundamental legal and scientific 
unit of time. 

How do we know if our watch is 
running correctly or not? We can't 
set it by observing the mean sun 
because there isn't any such body. 
We could get the correction by ob- 
serving the real sun, since the two 
are always a known distance apart. 
But the sun is a large bright disk 
that is hard to set on accurately. It 
is better to get the correction to the 
sidereal clock from the stars which 
are nice sharp points. From the 
sidereal clock we can easily calcu- 
late the mean solar time. 

Here somebody is going to object 
that we are reasoning in a circle. 
How did we get the places for the 
stars from which sidereal time is 
obtained in the first place? Well, 
it is much too long a story to ex- 



80 



R. S. RICHARDSON 



plain here. But, in the last analysis, 
we have to get our star positions 
from the sun. We tie the stars in 
•with the sun until eventually we 
come to know their positions so ac- 
curately that we can use them to 
set our clocks. But it wasn't done in 
a day. 

Now it would seem as if our 
troubles are ended at last. As a re- 
sult of centuries of painstaking toil 
on the part of a few underpaid 
individuals we have a nice series 
of stars whose positions are known 
to a hundredth of a second. But in- 
stead of being able to lean back 
and relax we find that our troubles 
in timekeeping are only beginning. 

More than two centuries ago Ed- 
mund Halley discovered some puz- 
zling discrepancies between his ob- 
served positions of the moon and 
the time of certain ancient eclipses. 
It looked as if the moon were grad- 
ually speeding up in its orbit or 
undergoing what is termed a secular 
acceleration. About 1750 Tobias 
Mayer suggested that this secular 
acceleration of the moon was due 
in reality to a slowing down in the 
rate of rotation of the earth caused 
by tidal friction. But in 1787 Lap- 
lace showed that the gravitational 
action of the planets on the moon 
would produce a secular accelera- 
tion, of about the amount observed, 
so that the tidal friction theory 
went into temporary eclipse. Then 
in 1853, Adams carried Laplace's 
calculations out to a greater de- 
gree of refinement and showed that 
the planets could only produce 
about half of the observed accelera- 
tion in the moon's motion. Some 
forty years ago a chronologist 
named Fotheringham, who seemed 



to have gotten into astronomy large- 
ly by accident, made a detailed 
study of all the old eclipses, occult- 
ations, and whatnot, and definitely 
confirmed the existence of an ac- 
celeration in the moon's motion. 

The acceleration works in such 
a way that during the last 2000 
years the error in our clocks is 
about 29 T' seconds, where T is 
the number of centuries since 1900. 
A little arithmetic will show that 
in another 2000 years the error will 
have mounted up to nearly three 
hours. This slowing down in the 
earth's rotation is ascribed to the 
friction between the water and land 
in narrow straits and channels such 
as the English Channel, the Straits 
of Malacca, and the Bering Sea. 
In addition to the secular accelera- 
tion, there are other irregular 
changes in rotation, of a rather 
startling nature, to which Fother- 
ingham gave the name of trepida- 
tion. The origin of these is still un- 
known. The largest changes of this 
kind occurred in 1900 and 1918. 
According to G. M. Clemence of 
the U. S. Naval Observatory, the 
accumulated error in the measure 
of time during the past 200 years 
has amounted to as much as 30 
seconds due to this effect, first in 
one direction and then in the other. 



NOW, IF the earth is gradually 
slowing down, then it will seem 
to us as if the rest of creation is 
speeding up at the same rate. The 
difference will first become appar- 
ent in rapidly moving bodies, as 
they will differ from their pre- 
dicted positions by the largest 
amounts. It is like losing a minute 



'IT'S ABOUT TIME . . .' 



81 



in timing the flight of a jet plane 
and a man on a mule. The jet 
plane will be ahead of schedule by 
many miles while the man on the 
mule will only be off by a few feet. 
That is why the secular accelera- 
tion first showed up in the moon, 
which moves much faster than any 
other body whose motion has been 
carefully studied. 

If we had nothing but the moon 
to check against the rotation of 
the earth we might be in doubt as 
to which one to believe. It would 
be like taking one man's word 
against another's. But we have 
Strong corroborative evidence from 
the motions of the sun, Mercury, 
Venus, and the four giant Jovian 
satellites, all of which are ahead of 
schedule by amounts corresponding 
to their average motions. 

What can we do to bring the ob- 
served positions of the heavenly 
bodies into agreement with their 
predicted positions? 

We could start correcting all the 
clocks so that they keep Newtonian 
time instead of mean solar time. 
Our clocks would no longer be tied 
to the sun but would run according 
to the length of the second at some 
arbitrary epoch such as January 1, 
1900. With the second growing 
longer, but with our clocks kept 
running on the same schedule, they 
Would gain continually on the sun. 



Along about 4000 A.D. the clocks 
would be so far ahead that they 
would register three o'clock in the 
afternoon when the sun is just 
crossing the meridian. 

The other alternative is to go on 
using mean solar time just as we do 
now. But whenever we wish to com- 
pare the observed position of a 
planet with its predicted place we 
would use Newtonian time. This 
would be done by publishing cor- 
rections for converting mean solar 
time into Newtonian time. Clem- 
ence has given a table showing 
the magnitude of the corrections 
back to 4000 B.C. He does not say 
how these corrections were de- 
rived. 

Inevitably there will come a 
time, however, when the day will 
have lengthened to such an extent 
that our way of life will be radically 
affected. Writers who lay their 
stories far in the future would do 
well to take heed as this is one of 
the few efifects we can extrapolate 
ahead a billion years with confi- 
dence. Let us try to envisage some 
conditions that will have been 
forced upon us when the day is 
about 48 hours long. 



ALTHOUGH the day will be 
twice as long, there will be only 
about half as many days in the 



CORRECTIONS TO MEAN SOLAR TIME 


Date Corr. 

4000 B.C. + 27 hours 

2000 B.C. + 12 " 

A.D. 1 + 2.6 " 

1000 + 0.5 " 


Date Corr. 
A.D. 1750 seconds 
1850 4-2 
1900 — 3.9 " 
1940 + 24.5 " 



82 



R. S. RICHARDSON 



year. Our calendar will doubtless 
have been discarded, or else modi- 
fied to such a degree as to be un- 
recognizable. There will have been 
some adjustment in reckoning 
wages, since if a man is paid by 
the hour he would have to work 
twice as long for the same amount 
of money. In fact, every sort of a 
rate that is reckoned in days, hours, 
minutes, and seconds will have had 
to be changed. A speed of 100 miles 
an hour would only be 50 miles an 
hour as measured today. But if 
interest is still calculated as so much 
per annum, then it is possible that 
these rates might be about the 
same, since the length of the year 
will not have altered. A man who 
is 50 years old would still be 50 
years old, although the sun would 
have risen on him only half as 
many times as on a man of that 
age today. Presumably people 
would have had to adjust them- 
selves to a somewhat greater range 
in temperature between day and 
night, as our planet would be head- 
ing in the same direction as the 
one-sided conditions that prevail 
on Venus. The reader can doubt- 
less think of scores of other effects 
that would arise under such a re- 
gime. 

As just mentioned, the length of 
the year would remain unaltered, 
even in A.D. 1,000,000,000, unless 
something wholly unfcireseen hap- 
pens. For this reason, theoretical 
astronomers have suggested that the 
mean solar second be dethroned as 
our fundamental unit of time in 
favor of the sidereal year. The 
sidereal year is the true period of 
revolution of the earth around the 
sun with respect to the sidereal uni- 



verse. The mean length of the si- 
dereal year appears to be a unit 
nearly in accordance with New- 
tonian time. At an international 
conference of astronomers, in 1950, 
on the fundamental units, it was 
recommended that the sidereal year 
be officially adopted as the stand- 
ard of time where the mean solar 
second is unsuitable owing to its 
variability. 

It is conceivable that we may 
ultimately be able to construct 
clocks that will answer the pur- 
pose. Quartz crystal clocks have 
run a year with a maximum error 
of 0.02 seconds. At present, how- 
ever, they are considered as too un- 
reliable to serve as fundamental 
timekeepers. Also, there is the same 
objection to quartz crystal clocks 
that there is to the rotation of the 
earth: the period of vibration of 
the crystal changes slowly with ag- 
ing and, for each crystal, this aging 
has to be determined from astro- 
nomical observations. 

Other possibilities are clocks 
based upon the rate of vibration of 
ammonia molecules under electrical 
excitation; the emission of particles 
from radioactive substances; the 
frequency of certain monochromat- 
ic spectrum lines; and even the 
period of Cepheid variable stars. 

The role of a prophet is always 
hazardous, but it seems rather 
doubtful if the heavenly bodies will 
ever be displaced from their role 
of fundamental timekeepers. With 
all their faults, the heavenly bodies 
can at least be relied upon to keep 
moving — a feat we have never been 
able to achieve with any man-made 
device. 

• . • THE END 



OUT OF THIS WORLD 



83 




^/wvw^w^M/v^\wwvwvw\flnl^M/nMM/^/f^^ 



OUT OF THIS WORLD 

by Joseph C. Stacey 



Listed below (jumbled fashion) are names pertaining to heavenly 
bodies, phenomena, etc., together with a brief description of each. 
Can you match up at least 7 of them correctly for a passing score? 
8-9 is good; 10 excellent. Answers on page 98. 



1. CHEVELURE 

2. ANSA 

3. BOLIDE 

4. AEROLITE 

5. BURR 

6. PROCYON 

7. SUN DOG 

8. PHOBOS 

9. RILL 

10. STRATUS ' 



(a) a long, narrow and generally straight 
valley on the face of the Moon. 

(b) a small rainbow lying near the horizon. 

(c) the tail of a comet. 

(d) a star, the most conspicuous in the con- 
stellation Canis Minor. 

(e) the name of one of planet Mar/ two 
moons. 

(f) a low, horizontal sheet of cloud. 

(g) the apparent ends of Saturn's rings, 
which seen obliquely, seem to project 
from the sides of the planet like handles. 

(h) a mass falling on the earth from celestial 
space. 

(i) a halo round the moon or a star, 
(j) a brilliant shooting star. 



"*WrtVHA*XU\VlVVVVWVWU\\\VUVVV\VVV\MirtVUWnVVVrtVVWWUVlVVlWVVU\Vl\\U\VVVVW\U\VMAVUVl^^ 

CARRIER (Continued from page 76) 



relatively easy after the initial gain 
has been made." 

Marrin shook his head. "How 
can I believe you?" 

"How? Look!" 

Telepathy transmits delicate 
shades of meaning quite lost in 
spoken language. A 'true' state- 
ment, teleped, reveals immediately 
how 'true' the sender believes it to 
be. There are an infinite number 
of gradations to the 'truth.' 

As Ecks had, Marrin read My- 
crowski's belief in the para-psi — 



read it clear down to the sub- 
conscious level. An unimaginably 
'true' truth! There was no possible 
argument. 

Suddenly Cari smiled. She had 
had one of her flash premonitions 
— a pleasant one. 

"Help me up," Mycrowski said 
to Marrin. "Let me outline my 
training program." Marrin walked 
over to help him. 

Then Ecks grinned. He had just 
read Cari's premonition. 

• • • THE END 



When does life begin? . . . A well-known book 
says "forty". A well-known radio program says 
"eighty". Some folks say it's mental, others say it's 
physical. But take the strange case of Mel Carlson 
who gave a lot of thought to the matter. 



1 in the Mind 

By Gene L. Henderson 

Illustrated by Paul Orbon 



MEL FELT as if he were float- 
ing on clouds in the deepest, 
most intense dark he had ever ex- 
perienced. He tried opening his 
eyes but nothing happened, only 
a sharp pain. Little bits of memory 
flashed back and he tried to figure 
out what could have happened, 
where he was. 

The last thing he could remem- 
ber was the little lab hidden back 
in the mountains in an old mine 
tunnel. Remote, but only an hour's 
drive from the city. What had he 
been doing? Oh yes, arguing with 
Neil again. He even recalled the 
exact words. 

"Damn it, Mel," his partner had 
said. "We've gone about as far as 
possible working with animal 
brains. We've got to get a human 
one." 



"We can't," Mel had disagreed. 
"There'd be enough of an uproar 
if the papers got hold of what we've 
been doing with animals. If we did 
get someone in a hospital to agree 
to let us use his brain on death, 
they would close us up tighter than 
a drum." 

"But our lab's too well hidden, 
they'd never know." 

"It wouldn't work anyway. The 
brain might be damaged for lack 
of oxygen and all of our work 
would go for nothing. Worse, it 
might indicate failure where a 
fresh, healthy brain would mean 
success." 

"We'll never know unless we 
try," said Neil almost violently, 
dark eyes glittering. "Our funds 
aren't going to last forever." 

Mel had turned his back and 



85 



86 



GENE L. HENDERSON 



was leaning over the tank where 
the latest brain — that from a dog — 
was lying immersed in the life-giv- 
ing liquid, a ^Jiin flickering line of 
light on the oscilloscope behind the 
tank the only indication that the 
brain was alive. 

What, had happened then? He 
thought hard, until a sharp pain 
and growing headache almost 
made him lose consciousness. 
Either he'd passed out or something 
had happened. Maybe the cave 
had collapsed the concrete walls of 
their lab, although he didn't see 
how that could have happened. 

He became aware of voices, faint 
at first, then growing stronger. He 
strained to listen and just when it 
appeared that the words would be- 
come distinct enough to under- 
stand, they faded away. He waited 
hopefully until they came back. 
This time he could understand 
words and parts of sentences. 
". . . connect this first and. . ." 
"No, be careful. Too much volt- 
age would ruin everything and 
we'd have to. . ." 

"Where does this connection go, 
here?" 

The other voice boomed in then, 
deep vibrations feeling as if they 
would shatter his brain. There was 
a frantic quality in the words. 

"No, no, you fool, don't. . ." A 
penetrating pain knifed through 
Mel's head and he tried to scream 
but heard nothing but a loud buzz- 
ing. He welcomed the loss of con- 
sciousness as it blanketed him. 

He struggled back to conscious- 
ness once more, a voice calling over 
and over in a monotone. "Mel, Mel 
Carlson. Can you hear me, Mel? 
Mel, Mel Carlson. Can you hear 



me, Mel?" he listened intently, 
recognizing it as one of the first 
voices he had heard. He tried to 
move but could feel no response of 
legs or arms. It was like being 
buried alive and he tried to call out 
for help. He must have lost his 
voice because he could still hear the 
same call. 

"Mel, Mel Carlson, can you. . ." 
It broke off abruptly, then came 
back triumphantly. "You do hear 
me, Mel, I can see." 

Again Mel tried to call out, with- 
out success. The other warned 
quickly. "Don't become alarmed. 
We're still working on your voice. 
Just try to rest." Mel suddenly re- 
alized that he'd been listening to 
Neil and a wave of thankfulness 
swept over him. There had been a 
cave-in then and he'd been in- 
jured. Neil was speaking again, a 
note of professional regret in his 
voice. 

"I'm sorry it had to happen this 
way but there was too much tied 
up in the project to lose now." A 
growing realization and horror be- 
gan to seep through Mel's mind. 
Neil continued, after a brief pause. 
"The sine wave jumped. I see you 
must realize now. I had to do it, 
Mel. After all, you aren't dead you 
know, just your body is gone. Your 
brain may live for hundreds of 
years. Why just think, you'll be 
able. . ." Oblivion again claimed 
Mel, 



ONCE MORE Mel was floating 
on clouds and this time the 
sensation was exhilarating. He tried 
moving his arms and legs to see if 
he could swim through the velvety 



ALL IN THE MIND 



87 



darkness but failed. A faint glow 
began to appear ahead of him and 
a low rumble of voices began to 
echo throughout his mind. Full re- 
alization of what had happened 
swept over him and he struggled 
to retain his sanity. The voices 
were louder and he recognized that 
of Neil, who was saying, 

". . . is conscious now. Easy on 
the voltage, remember last time." 
A brief pause, then louder. "Mel, I 
see that you hear me. Listen care- 
fully. I've tried out several of my 
own theories, that's why you can 
hear. And, in just a moment, I'm 
going to give you eyesight. We're 
having trouble with a voice." The 
light began growing in intensity 
and hurt his eyeballs. Mel remem- 
bered then, depressed, that he had 
no eyes of his own. Even at the 
thought, he tried to shut his eyes 
which only caused his brain to ache 
more. He tried completely relax- 
ing in an endeavor to capture the 
floating sensation once more. 

"Ah, that's better," approved 
Neil's voice. "I see that the brain 
wave has smoothed down. If you'll 
just accept what's happened, Mel, 
we should be able to work to- 
together." Figures began to form 
in the white mist. As they became 
stronger but out of focus, he saw 
Neil bent over a control panel, 
carefully making adjustments and 
glancing frequently at the leaping 
line of green light across the scope 
in front of him. He felt a surge of 
hate sweep through his brain and 
saw the green line jump violently. 
Neil's hand jumped instinctively 
toward a red-covered switch. At 
the same time, he flashed a glance 
towards a tank that was barely 



within the range of Mel's vision. 
He realized almost at once that it 
must be the same one in which 
his brain was resting. The full, 
sickening realization of what had 
happened hit him and he almost 
went over the black-out line. Then 
Neil's face loomed square in his 
direction and hate, the most intense 
he had ever experienced, brought 
the green line that represented his 
brain's output up to full level. 

His brain sent impulses out to 
the nerve ends that had controlled 
his arms and legs. They felt as if 
they were still attached to him but 
paralyzed. His mind felt clearer 
and sharper now than it ever had 
before in his life.. He determined 
to analyze his new mental capabili- 
ties carefully in the hope he would 
find a means of striking back. 

During the next few weeks, 
only his hatred for Neil enabled 
Mel to keep his sanity. The first 
empty feeling that the future could 
hold nothing for him but horror 
gave way to planning and schem- 
ing. His mechanical voice was per- 
fected, operated by the nerve ends 
of his brain, much as his original 
vocal cords had functioned. It en- 
abled him to now assist in his own 
rehabilitation by suggesting im- 
provements or solutions to me- 
chanical aids he could control. 
The steady growth or realization of 
his mental powers were amazing 
to Mel. He realized that they must 
have been inherent and in his sub- 
conscious all of the time, only his 
loss of body brought them out now. 
That, plus the fact that he re- 
quired practically no rest if the 
stimulants pumped into the tank 
were sufficient. 



88 



GENE L. HENDERSON 



THIS LAST was the clue to his 
use by Neil. It became appar- 
ent that his erstwhile partner 
planned on using him to the fullest 
possible extent. First Neil brought 
in a problem concerning a new 
type of paint to absorb the rays of 
the sun and convert them into elec- 
trical energy. Not until he had 
studied the problem and given Neil 
the answer did Mel realize the full 
financial potentiality of his powers. 

He immediately brought up the 
subjects. "What about our partner- 
ship agreement on profits?" he 
asked. 

"Profits?" repeated Neil with a 
nasty smile. "Why? Where did you 
plan on going?" 

For once Mel was glad that his 
voice was flat and devoid of all in- 
flection. It kept the other from 
sensing the rage that made him 
want to do something violent. "You 
know what I mean," he insisted 
doggedly. "Unless you want to ad- 
mit murder, we're still partners." 

Neil laughed and said, "That's 
right. Of course I can draw any 
and all funds that I need but if the 
authorities ever check on your dis- 
appearance, they'll find that a sep- 
arate account has been opened in 
your name in the City. All you have 
to do is go in and withdraw it any 
time you want to." He chuckled, 
then grew serious. 

"Don't get any ideas," he 
warned. "We've been spending 
most of the time during the past 
couple of months getting you in 
shape for your intended function 
and I'm going to bring more and 
more problems in to you." He ex- 
plained further, "I've opened an 
engineering consultant service in 



the city and this paint formula 
alone will bring us all the business 
we'll need." He pretended to be 
busy at one of the computors being 
installed but Mel could see that he 
was glancing out of the corners of 
his eyes at the oscilloscope for indi- 
cation of a brain reaction. Mel had 
learned several weeks ago that he 
could control the output of his 
brain and had been careful to con- 
ceal the fact from Neil. 

His partner said, disappointment 
in his voice. "Doesn't my attitude 
bother you anymore?" 

Mel's mechanical voice rolled 
out. "When you destroyed my 
body, you destroyed all emotions. 
If diat's the way you want to do 
things, that's the way it'll be." 

"But the ethics. . ." 

"I know what would happen to 
me if you turned me over to the 
scientists. I'd be a freak and treated 
as such. I owe nothing to the 
world." 

"Swell," enthused Neil, this time 
his face twisted into a grimace of 
pleasure. "I've got a lot of plans 
that you'll fit into." 

Experiments had been made 
with muscular control and they 
discovered that Mel could govern 
an electrically powered table, con- 
trolled by short wave radio. An- 
other "eye" that could swing in a 
360 degree circle had been 
mounted on it and broadcast its in- 
formation to Mel's optical circuit. 
A mechanical arm had also been 
installed on it and Mel spent long 
night hours when the lab was 
quiet perfecting his control over it. 
Before long, he was as much — if 
not more — proficient with it as 
he had been with his own arms. 



ALL IN THE MIND 



89 



He began laying his plans. 

The first thing he needed was a 
weapon. Getting his control cart 
out of the cubicle was easy since 
Jenkins, the only assistant allowed 
in the entire laboratory, had left 
his key ring lying on a table one 
morning. It had been but the 
work of a moment to wheel over, 
pick them up and then conceal 
them. Jenkins had spent a frantic 
hour in search but finally went into 
the machine shop to make up a 
new set. He had first cautioned Mel 
against letting Neil know, almost 
fawning in his gratitude when Mel 
promised. 

He searched the entire lab the 
first two nights but discovered that 
Neil had taken the revolver he had 
kept in a drawer of his old desk. It 
would take too long to try and ma- 
chine another one, although their 
machine shop had proven its ca- 
pability of turning out anything. A 
knife he discarded as too clumsy 
for his means of control. He then 
carefully considered steel darts shot 
from a tube by compressed air or 
carbon dioxide but reluctantly 
abandoned that idea also. Since he 
had a machine's limitations as well 
as advantages, he'd have to begin 
thinking less like a human. So, the 
first thing to base a weapon on 
would be the material most plenti- 
ful in die lab. That was — elec- 
tricity. 



ONCE DETERMINED on the 
line of his endeavors, he brief- 
ly marvelled again on the still un- 
explored potentialities of his brain. 
The weapon would be mounted on 
his own cart and electricity could 



either be broadcast or self-con- 
tained. For mobility, he decided 
on a power pack. The weapon it- 
self evolved so easily that he won- 
dered why no one had thought of 
it before now. Special type con- 
densers built a battery charge up 
to over a million volts for a split 
second. This charge, invisible until 
it hit an object more solid than air, 
was contained in a very narrow 
beam by strong screens of opposite 
polarity. The entire sequence of 
operation was almost instantane- 
ous, and the bolt was more in the 
nature of an electrical projectile 
than a continuous beam. 

He decided that the unit, re- 
sembling a flashlight, could be 
mounted in a concealed spot under 
his "eye" so that it could be fired 
at whatever he might be looking at. 

Now that he had a means of de- 
fending himself, Mel felt more at 
ease but at a loss for his next step. 
Merely eliminating both Jenkins 
and Neil would gain his revenge 
but what then? He could always 
notify the authorities but mentally 
flinched at exposing himself to the 
world as a freak and being at the 
mercy of the morbid curiosity of 
millions. 

He had hardly begun to lay his 
plans before disaster struck. Neil 
came in early one morning and had 
Mel begin working on a problem 
concerning a new type of steel that 
would combine structural strength 
with the lightweight qualities of 
aluminum. Mel energized his cal- 
culators that were, electrically, 
practically part of his brain. He 
briefly wondered why Neil ap- 
peared so restless, wandering 
around the room with his hands be- 



90 



GENE L. HENDERSON 



hind his back, studying everything. 
Then the problem became so in- 
triguing that he completely forgot 
that anyone was in the room. 

His first inkling that anything 
was wrong was when Neil straight- 
ened up from the cart with a 
twisted smile on his face and ex- 
claimed: 
"Ha!" 

Mel's first, startled conjecture 
was that the other had discovered 
the special weapon. He tried to ro- 
tate the lens so that the weapon 
would point at Neil but could see, 
by other stationary lenses in the 
room, that the one on the cart re- 
mained motionless. The same was 
true of the mechanical arm. In fact, 
the entire cart was dead. 

"I pulled the main power fuse," 
said Neil, a sUght smile on his face. 
"I suppose you thought you were 
getting away with it completely." 
Not positive as to how much his 
partner knew, Mel, decided on 
silence as his defense. The smile 
disappeared from the other's face 
and he continued, slowly: 

"Something must be wrong with 
your reasoning. I knew something 
was up when the power company's 
statement showed an unusually 
high increase in power consump- 
tion. From there on it was easy to 
read the meters at night myself, and 
then the next morning. What were 
you up to anyway?" Me'l still main- 
tained his silence. 

"Okay if that's the way you want 
it," said Neil more harshly. He 
walked to the end of the tank and 
Mel felt his brain telegraphing 
warnings to severed nerve connec- 
tions not yet again in use. Neil 
reached out to a valve Mel recog- 



nized as controlling the minute 
amount of chemicals that served to 
nourish the cells in his brain. Re- 
lays were connected to it that also 
regulated the injection of oxygen 
proportionately into the fluid. He 
turned it slightly then began watch- 
ing the oscilloscope closely. In a 
matter of seconds, Mel felt his 
usually sharp senses begin to dull. 
The oscilloscope blurred until, by 
great efifort, he brought ii into focus 
again. He saw that the height of 
the wavy line denoting the strength 
of his brain's output was abnor- 
mally low. 

"Feeling all right?" asked Neil in 
mock anxiety. He turned the valve 
back to its correct setting and al- 
most instantly Mel felt better. 
"That's just a sample of what can 
happen if you force me to it," 
warned the other. "A little more of 
a turn and that super brain of yours 
would be garbage. Only I wouldn't 
do that, of course. There are a few 
more experiments I want to make 
before your brain dies." Knowing 
the vicious nature of his partner, 
Mel decided to talk before the 
other goaded himself into some un- 
planned action. 

"Don't forget the fable about the 
goose that laid the golden eggs," 
his voice rolled out. "There's still 
a lot I could do for you, you know 
— or not do." He saw with relief 
that the anger receded from the 
other's face to be replaced by a 
look of cunning. 

"I almost forgot," said Neil. 
"I've another surprise for you." He 
went to a circuit near the master 
calculator that he himself had in- 
stalled only several days ago. All 
the master components were open, 



ALL IN THE MIND 



91 



a rheostat appearing to be the pri- 
mary control. Mel had decided at 
the time it had to do with voltage 
regulation of the calculator since 
there had been trouble with it. 

Neil placed his hand on it, then 
turned his head in the general di- 
rection of the tank and said, "Just 
in case you get ideas of not co- 
operating, I can use this for per- 
suasion." He cracked the vernier 
just a trifle and agony knifed 
through Mel's brain. It receded, 
leaving a slight ache. 

"Not much voltage," Neil was 
saying with satisfaction, "but, judg- 
ing from the way your brain wave 
jumped, I don't imagine it felt very 
good, did it?" 

"You win," was Mel's only com- 
ment, not wanting another jolt. 
Never before had he felt so help- 
less and completely at the mercy of 
another. He realized more and 
more that he had less defense than 
a new-born baby, which could at 
least kick and wave its hands. He 
could do nothing except try to re- 
tain his sanity and wait for his day 
to come. . . 

"Good," approved his partner, 
his manner indicating that it was 
the most natural thing in the world 
that Mel should give in. "Just in 
case you forget, I think I'll keep 
the cart disconnected so that you 
can't do anything to harm yourself 
at night." His manner abruptly 
turned business-like. "Now then, 
that paint formula story got around 
and we've got a lot of business 
to handle. Most of it's routine for 
you but we'll drag it out and sock 
them plenty. A couple of items we'll 
copy after you've solved them and 
say it couldn't be done." 



MEL MISSED the cart more 
than he though he would. It 
was much like the time when, as a 
boy, he'd broken a leg and had to 
stay in bed for several weeks. He 
was forced to turn in on himself. 

The real turn in the development 
of his mind, and above the level he 
had thought possible, came about 
as an accident one day. Resting, 
with nothing to do, he had the full 
room in vision with the stationary 
lenses. A flicker of motion caught 
his attention and careful waiting 
disclosed it to be a small mouse that 
had somehow gained access to the 
laboratory and then into his room. 
Welcoming any change in his rou- 
tine, he watched as the small 
creature scurried around the room 
looking for something to eat. Sev- 
eral times Mel amused himself by 
causing his voice box to rumble, 
making the rodent scurry around 
madly for a hiding place until the 
imagined danger had passed. 
Eventually it became used to the 
noise and not even talking affected 
it. 

It disappeared from sight for 
several minutes and Mel had just 
begun to wonder if it had a nest in 
the equipment when it reappeared 
on top of the calculator, near the 
electrical prod that Neil had used 
on his brain. Remembering the 
searing jolt it had given him, Mel 
watched anxiously as the mouse 
pushed an inquisitive nose into the 
still exposed components. He be- 
came more concerned as the ani- 
mal became more intrigued. Not 
only was there danger that the 
mouse would push down on a deli- 
cate relay and close it, but he could 
conceivably short out the main 



92 



GENE L. HENDERSON 



power supply. The result wasn't 
pleasant to contemplate. If it didn't 
permanently damage some of his 
brain cells, the pain might drive 
him into insanity. 

He tried shouting but the mouse 
paid no attention to him. He called 
for first, Jenkins and then Neil un- 
til he remembered that his partner 
had said they were going in after 
some special equipment. While 
he watched helplessly, the mouse 
stretched out and touched a relay 
point. Instantly pain knifed 
through his brain and he became 
aware of a roaring sound that he 
realized was his voice blaring out. 
The extra loud and continued blast 
of sound had caused the mouse to 
withdraw nervously from the re- 
lay. Something about it had made 
him determined, however, and as 
Mel was barely recovering from the 
first jolt, the mouse moved back. 
Mel wished desperately that the 
cart had been left in operation so 
that he might at least use the sound 
of motion or the mechanical arm to 
frighten his tiny tormentor from the 
vicinity of the relay. 

He watched intently as the 
mouse came closer to the points, 
oblivious to everything else in the 
room. As it almost touched the 
points, a violent surge of hate 
coursed through his brain cells and 
he w£is surprised to sec jhe mouse 
flung violently back down to the 
floor. It lay there motionless and he 
finally realized, with thankfulness, 
that it was dead. As the pain from 
the jolt subsided to the point where 
he could barely feel it, he began to 
wonder what had happened. The 
amount of voltage necessary to hurt 
him was so small that nothing be- 



yond a direct short across the pri- 
mary power would have affected 
the mouse. He began to analyze 
everything preceding the point 
where the mouse had been flung 
from the top of the calculator. A 
check and recheck brought the 
same answer, one that he had 
at first refused to believe — his 
thoughts had been responsible. 

Further contemplation con- 
vinced him that, while his thoughts 
had undoubtedly been responsible, 
the mental power itself had not 
been enough, as pure, brute force, 
to accomplish the task, but must 
have struck at the rodent's brain it- 
self. That would have been enough 
to convulse the animal's muscles 
and make it look at first as if some 
outside force had hurled it to the 
floor. The stolid Jenkins was some- 
what perturbed when he found the 
dead mouse. 

"But how could it get in here," 
he demanded querulously. Then, as 
if in sudden thought, "and what 
could have killed it?" 

Mel suddenly decided that it 
might be better if the other were set 
at ease since even Jenkins could 
disect it if he became curious 
enough and might find enough to 
make Neil suspicious. 

"I saw it yesterday," he said. "I 
didn't say anything since it was in- 
teresting and was company for me. 
I noticed that it was moving more 
slowly today and seemed to be 
weaker. It must have starved to 
death. Nothing to eat in here, and 
he couldn't get out." 

"Yeah," agreed the other, pick- 
ing it up and throwing it into a 
wastepaper basket. The explana- 
tion had evidently satisfied him. 



ALL IN THE MIND 



93 



since he went about his routine 
tasks. 



AFTER THE excitement of his 
discovery had worn off, Mel 
began to cautiously test its poten- 
tial. He carefully directed his 
thoughts at Jenkins and caused an 
instant reaction. For a brief mo- 
ment, he felt a resiliant pressure as 
if something were pressing against 
his own brain. He instinctively 
pushed back harder and heard 
Jenkins yell as the opposing pres- 
sure collapsed. The assistant was 
leaning against a work table, a 
dazed look on his face. 

"What happened?" Mel asked. 

"I don't know," said the other, 
pressing a hand to the side of his 
head. "It felt as if something had 
hit me in the head, now it aches a 
little. Guess I'll have to do some- 
thing about this cold." He left, still 
holding a hand to his head. 

It was obvious that his newly dis- 
covered power could be dangerous 
so Mel proceeded with his experi- 
menting more slowly. Jenkins was 
still his only guinea pig and he 
learned to gage just when the assis- 
tant's resistance was about to col- 
lapse and reduce the intensity of 
his own probing accordingly. He 
was disappointed to discover that 
either it was impossible to read 
another's mind or that he hadn't 
discovered the method. How- 
ever, he could roughly direct the 
other's actions. Jenkins had been 
becoming increasingly nervous so 
Mel became even more subtle in his 
experimenting. He'd wait until the 
assistant was idle and then either 
make him cross his legs or put one 



or the other of his hands up to 
scratch his head. He finally became 
so smooth and accurate in his con- 
trol that it lost most of its interest 
as a means of recreation. 

He began to extend his range. 
Wood and concrete offered no im- 
pedance at all. Metal, with the ex- 
ception of aluminum, cut the in- 
tensity roughly about half. Jenkins 
was in Mel's room when he first 
probed Neil's brain. His partner's 
mental resistance was much higher 
and he pressed slowly but methodi- 
cally so that the break-through 
would be controlled. To his sur- 
prise, he found that Neil's brain 
was much easier to control than 
that of Jenkins had been. 

It was about this time that he 
found he was beginning to master 
the sharing of his host's eyesight. 
While he might not be able to read 
another's mind, it would be a big 
help to know that someone else was 
doing or what he was looking at. 
He tried searching outside the 
building but found nothing, other 
than an occasional small Spot of 
resistance that would probably in- 
dicate a small animal. This wasn't 
surprising since the lab was hidden 
in caves in a secluded canyon that 
had no attraction to the casual 
wanderer. 

His next concentration was on 
the animals he encountered every 
so often. His first few attempts re- 
sulted in sudden and complete col- 
lapse of resistance and he sadly con- 
cluded that his control had been 
too powerful and resulted in their 
death. He tried more carefully and 
was overjoyed when he established 
contact with their visual senses. 
The sensation was almost as over- 



94 



GENE L. HENDERSON. 



powering as if he had suddenly 
gained eyesight of his own. For the 
first time in months, he revelled in 
seeing the country around the out- 
side of the lab and never before 
had he thought it so beautiful. 
Once, while in control of a rabbit's 
mind, he saw an eagle flying over- 
head. He quickly transferred and, 
before the bird flew far enough 
away to make control impossible, 
he enjoyed the far-reaching vision 
of the bird's eyes as it swept on to- 
wards some hidden nest. He could 
even see the city in the distance. 



SEVERAL TIMES he neglected 
to notice Neil's entrance into 
the room, so absorbed did he be- 
come in his newly discovered, if 
second-hand, freedom. 

"What's happened to you any- 
way?" demanded his erstwhile 
partner one day after he had had 
to repeat a question. "Half of the 
time lately you're lost in a world 
of your own. What're you up to 
anyway?" 

"Nothing," replied Mel, sud- 
denly alert to any new danger, al- 
though confident he could take 
care of himself now. "I was just 
going over some new equations I've 
been formulating as a hobby. Now 
that you've taken away my cart, 
there isn't much to keep me oc- 
cupied you know. You don't begin 
to bring enough problems. What's 
wrong?" 

Mel wished that he could read 
the others' mind since Neil began 
to act evasive. He laughed with a 
false heartiness. "Wrong? Why I've 
— we've—" he corrected, " — al- 
i(':uly made a fortune on a couple 



of our own patents as well as com- 
missions from project solutions. 
Someone might get suspicious if we 
did too well or too much." 

This made sense but Mel 
couldn't resist digging. "You mean 
that your past record of success as 
measured against your supposed 
one now might make the police ask 
questions?" he asked. The other re- 
mained silent so he pressed the at- 
tack. "Or are they already wonder- 
ing why I haven't been seen for so 
long?" 

"There were a few questions at 
first," admitted the other, "but I 
think I've satisfied them all. How- 
ever, I've been thinking that it 
might be a good idea to move you 
somewhere else." 

"But hardly anyone knows the 
lab exists," protested Mel. 

"The power company does, even 
if the meters are way down the 
road. We should've planned on our 
own generators from the first. Then 
there's the deed recorder. This land 
is in both of our names you know." 

"It'd still be a tremendous proj- 
ect," pointed out Mel. "You 
couldn't begin to keep the new lo- 
cation secret because you'd need 
help in moving me. One little slip 
and it'd be all over," 

There was an upward curl to the 
other's lips that Mel didn't like. 
"Oh, we'd have to be careful," he 
admitted. "Luckily the time delay 
wouldn't hurt any, there's so much 
money rolling in." He hesitated for 
a moment, as if in thought, then 
concluded, "In fact, there's no 
project on now unless you have a 
private one of your own. It might 
be a good idea to plan on the move 
right away." 



ALL IN THE MIND 



95 



"I still don't like the idea," stated 
Mel flatly. "I'd like to think it over 
for a couple of days." 

"Think it over all you want," 
said Neil with a grin. He walked to 
the calculator and patted it near 
the jolter. "Only don't forget I 
don't have to ask you." He waited 
almost hopefully but Mel said noth- 
ing, content with the feeling of 
power and knowledge that, so long 
as he was prepared, the other could 
do nothing immediate to harm him. 
The time had come for action, 
however. 

Mel kept mental contact with his 
partner after he had left. Neil went 
directly to the office and unlocked 
the center drawer of his desk. He 
then began pulling out papers and 
scanning them rapidly, placing 
some back and keeping others out. 
Mel gasped to himself when he saw 
the bank statement and the amount 
of money deposited under the name 
of the partnership. That in Neil's 
personal account was large but it 
was perfectly obvious, according to 
dates Mel could see through the 
other's eyes, that the transfer of 
funds had not been underway for 
long. As It now stood, they were 
both practically millionaires but he 
knew Neil wouldn't be satisfied. 

Watching through the other's 
eyes, Mel had his vision switched 
from the desk to the door. He saw 
that Jenkins had just entered, 
mouth moving. He thought he 
could read his lips just enough to 
make out his own name. Jenkins 
appeared to stop and listen to Neil, 
then his facial expression changed 
as his lips protested over some- 
thing. Mel's vision then switched 
to another desk drawer that had 



been opened and he saw his miss- 
ing revolver nesting in it. Neil with- 
drew it and pointed it at Jenkins. 
The assistant stepped back, hands 
up as if to ward off a blow. Then a 
placating, if anxious, smile spread 
over his face and his mouth worked 
rapidly, too much so for Mel to 
read any words. Whatever had 
been said, it appeared to satisfy 
Neil since he lowered the revolver. 



MEL BROKE contact and came 
back to his own room and 
stationary video scanners that 
served as his eyes. Jenkins came in 
and his manner made it plain to 
Mel that he was laboring under an 
intense pressure. He began putter- 
ing around the work table, gradual- 
ly making his way closer to the tank 
housing Mel's brain. 

"Jenkins," said Mel, purposely 
extra loud. 

The assistant jumped nervously, 
dropping a piece of metal he had 
picked up. 

"Yes," he almost quavered. 

"Have you ever thought how it 
would be to be condemned to a life 
like mine?" 

"No-o-o, not especially. Why 
should I?" 

"You helped put me here, you 
know." 

"I was only following orders, 
I—" 

"All right, all right. I know how 
Neil can force a person to do some- 
thing. But you could help me, you 
know." 

"How's that?" suspiciously. "I'm 
not going to tell anyone, if that's 
what you're driving at." 

"No, I'm not trying to get you 



96 



GENE L. HENDERSON 



to do that. All I want is the fuse 
replaced on the cart. Then it would 
feel as if I were moving around 
and break up the monotony. This 
is worse than any solitary cell in 
prison could ever be." 

"No," refused the assistant flat- 
ly. "It wouldn't do you any good 
anyway. It's just — " He stopped, 
hand going to his mouth as if he 
had said something he wasn't sup- 
posed to. 

"How's that, Jenkins?" reminded 
Mel as gently as he could. "What's 
supposed to happen?" 
• "I don't know," replied Jenkins 
sullenly. 

"Put a fuse back in the cart," di- 
rected Mel. At the same time he 
applied pressure almost to the 
breaking point against the other's 
mind. 
"No!" 

He knifed through to the other's 
brain with ease and just enough 
power to accomplish his purpose 
without harming Jenkins. This was 
the most complete control Mel had 
ever attempted and Jenkins' legs 
moved spasmodically as though he 
were a puppet on strings. There 
was horror in his bulging eyes 
and sweat began breaking out on 
his forehead. Relentlessly he was 
forced towards the cart until at 
last it had been reached. 

"Jenkins," said Mel as low as he 
could. "Can you hear *me?" A 
slight twitch of the head was the 
only indication that he could, so 
Mel instructed, 

"There's a spare fuse near the 
holder, Jenkins. Take it out and 
place it in the primary circuit. Do 
that and I'll let you go. If need be, 
I could kill you now. The fuse, 



Jenkins." He relaxed his hold 
slightly but Jenkins made no at- 
tempt to comply. Mel continued, 

"Remember the dead mouse, 
Jenkins? I did that. The fuse, be- 
fore I lose my patience." He ap- 
plied more power until the other's 
hand began moving unsteadily to- 
wards the cart. As he withdrew 
slightly, from mental contact, Jen- 
kins continued his task and in a 
moment Mel was able to move the 
cart. He had momentarily forgot- 
ten Jenkins until he became aware 
that the assistant had let out a yell 
of terror and was rushing for the 
door. Mel watched with amuse- 
ment, knowing that he could have 
stopped the other with hardly a 
strain. Just before he reached the 
door, it opened and Neil appeared. 
Jenkins came to a halt and stared 
in terror at his employer. 

"Well," said the other impatient- 
ly. "What's been keeping you, 
Jenkins? Did you — " 

"No, he didn't," answered Mel. 
At the same time he caused the cart 
to move sideways and swung the 
video scanner until it was staring 
directly at Neil. 

"Well," said the latter accusing- 
ly, switching his gaze to the ter- 
rified Jenkins. "So this is how you 
follow out orders." 

"He made me do it, boss. He 
made me," babbled Jenkins as Neil, 
face set with determination, drew 
his revolver from a pocket. Before 
the astounded Mel could do more 
than gaze incredulously, there 
were two sharp cracks and Jenkins 
slowly placed his arms around his 
stomach and rocked back and forth 
in agony, before toppling over to 
the floor to lie motionless. 



ALL IN THE MIND 



97 



"Now you," said Neil, swinging 
his revolver towards Mel's tank. 
Mel frantically stabbed at his part- 
ner's mind but could feel no pres- 
sure. Another shot rang out and 
he felt a numbing pressure seem- 
ingly from every direction that 
could only mean it was against his 
physical brain itself. The shock 
forced him to use every bit of power 
he possessed to keep conscious. Neil 
had lowered the revolver a trifle 
and was saying in a superior tone, 

"Whatever you did to Jenkins, 
it's only hastened the inevitable, if 
that makes you feel any better. I'd 
have had to get rid of him too, once 
you were disposed of." 

He began raising the revolver 
again and the dazed Mel instinc- 
tively relayed power to the cart. 
The eye had been pointing directly 
at Neil and the only sound that in- 
dicated the energy gun had been 
set off was a slight hiss. The effect 
on Neil was not only instantaneous 
but horrible to see. His body ap- 
peared to swell until he looked 
bloated, then disintegrated. 



MEL FELT himself becoming 
weak and hastily brought the 
cart over to examine the damage 
the one shot had done to him. Al- 
most fearfully he scanned himself 
and saw, with relief, that the shot 
had penetrated the tank and was 
letting the life-giving liquid escape 
onto the floor. A quick glance into 
the tank showed that the lead pellet 
had missed his brain but the pres- 
sure on the Equid had caused him 
the initial pain. 

He directed the cart over to the 
work bench and brought back a 



tapered piece of wood. The arm 
placed it into the hole and then 
applied pressure until the trickle 
had stopped. It would do until he 
could effect a permanent patch. He 
began to feel stronger almost im- 
mediately and knew that the auto- 
matic features of his metal "body" 
were renewing the liquid at top 
speed. 

Using the cart, he first checked 
the supply of chemicals, fed as 
needed into the tank, and saw that 
there was a sufficient quantity to 
last him for at least a month. He 
thanked the good fortune that had 
allowed Jenkins to put the cart 
Into operation before it was too 
late. Without it, his end would have 
been as certain as if Neil had been 
successful in killing him. 

His first task was to construct 
several more carts, each complete 
with video scanner. One of them 
was larger than the other. It's first 
task was to dispose of the two putri- 
fying bodies. Working almost 24 
hours a day, he hooked an inter- 
communications system to every 
room of the underground lab and 
directly into his system. Even the 
telephone was connected to it so 
that, if necessary, he could answer 
it or make a call. 

The day finally arrived when 
there was no more he could do. 
The entire lab was almost like a 
steel and concrete body, so thor- 
oughly had its every function been 
integrated as part of his brain. The 
decision he had been almost fran- 
tically avoiding could no longer be 
put aside. He had approximately a 
week in which to decide. It would 
be simple to call the police and in 
turn let them notify the various 



98 



GENE L. HENDERSON 



scientists as to his position. 

He dreaded the thought of the 
circus that the lab would become. 
Erstwhile friends would troop in 
to look at him with morbid curi- 
osity. Then when his potential be- 
came known, tasks would be as- 
signed. There was a definite possi- 
bility that he would be moved, even 
at the danger of injury to himself. 
Countless thousands would de- 
mand it and their will would be 
obeyed unless the curtain of na- 
tional security could be drawn 
across him. 

One day was spent in contacting 
the animals outside the lab and 
revelling in flight for awhile. Then 
he sped through the countryside, 
first with a coyote, then with a 
deer. There was a possibility that if 
the scientists moved him, his new 
tank would be shielded so that it 
would be impossible to enjoy him- 
self as he now was. All in the name 
of science of course. 

On the other hand, if it were 
possible to have all supplies deliv- 
ered to a nearby point where he 
could pick them up, he could con- 
tinue his present method of exist- 
ence. His mind jtunped eagerly 
from problem to problem which he 
could undoubtedly solve for the 
benefit of mankind. The present 
patents in the partnership's name 
would bring enough money indefi- 
nately to pursue them since much 
could be done by pure thought. 

There was the survival phase 
first. He would devise an electronic 



blanketing ray that would dampen 
all atomic explosions. Then he 
could turn to the health of people 
all over the world, wipe out dis- 
eases. All this would depend, of 
course on his being able to remain 
undisturbed and that might tax 
his powers to their utmost. He won- 
dered if it would be worth the 
effort. 

Finally he had less than three 
days left, which narrowed the 
safety margin to the lowest point 
he cared to think about. He opened 
the telephone circuit and heard the 
operator say, "Number please." 

He hesitated briefly, then said, 

"The Waring Chemical Supply 
House, please." His order was soon 
placed and, afterwards, he felt al- 
most as free and elated as when, as 
a boy, school had let out for the 
summer. The manual dexterity of 
the metallic fingers he had con- 
structed would enable him to write 
checks with his own signature. A 
faint idea had even tickled his curi- 
osity and he felt certain that he 
could grow cells within a couple of 
weeks. From there, he could work 
on a body for himself, one even 
more efficient than the old one 
Neil had destroyed. 

A human in the lab at that mo- 
ment would have been startled. As 
near possible as it was for any 
wheeled vehicle to do so, he had 
several carts almost doing a jig in 
the main office. His new life had 
just begun. 

• • • THE END 



Answers to OUT OF THIS WORLD 

1-c, 2-g, 3-j, 4-h, 5-i, 6-d, 7-b, 8-e, 9-a, 10-f. 



If you ever get to drinking beer in your favorite 
saloon and meet a scared little guy who wants to 
buy you the joint, supply you with fur coats and 
dolls and run you for Qongress — listen well! That 
is, if you really want the joint, the fur coats, the 
dolls and a seat in Congress. Just ask Mike Mur- 
phy ... 



probabilit;ir 

By Louis Trimble 

Illustration by Ed Emsh 



THE FIRST time this little guy 
comes in I'm new on the job. 
He looks around as if he's scared 
a pfrohibitlon agent will pop out of 
the walls and bite him. Then he 
gets up his nerve and sidles to the 
bar. His voice is as thin as the rest 
of him. 

"Glass of beer." 

I draw. He drinks and pays and 
goes out. 

That keeps on, Monday through 
Friday at five-ten p.m., year in and 
year out. He slips in, peers around, 
has his beer, and pops out. Even in 
'33, when we become legitimate, he 
acts the same way — scared of his 
shadow. Except he isn't big enough 
to have a shadow. 

During the war, when we're ra- 



tioned, I save him his daily glass. 
He never fails to come in except 
for two weeks every summer when 
he's on vacation. From 1922 to 
1953 he drinks one daily beer. 

In thirty-one years, he and I 
grow older together, and after the 
first ten he talks a little so that over 
a period of time I manage to learn 
something about him. That first 
day he'd come in, he was on his 
first job out of college. Well, so was 
I, only I went to bartending school 
to learn how to mix prohibition 
liquor. But even so, it gave us 
something in common, and when 
he learned we had started life to- 
gether — as he put it — he talked a 
little more. 

His name is Pettis. Six months 



99 



100 



LOUIS TRIMBLE 



after I learn that, I get his first 
name. It's Rabelais, and I could 
see why he doesn't like it. But when 
he breaks down and tells me, he 
gets real bold and says: 

"And what's yours, my male 
Hebe?" 

"Mike Murphy." 

"Naturally," he said. He laughs. 
It is the only time I hear him 
laugh in thirty-one years. I can't see 
anything funny. 

He is a draftsman for those old 
skinflints Gartner and Dillson. 
When they die, their sons take over 
and are even worse. In the depres- 
sion, Pettis gets a little shabby but 
he always has the price of a glass 
of beer. In '53 he's at the same 
desk and doing the same job he 
started on in '22. 

In '35 he gets married. He tells 
me so. Tasting his beer, he says, 
"I'll be married this time tomor- 
row." I often wonder what his wife 
looks like but I never see her. Not 
even when it gets decent for ladies 
to come in, she never shows. Mar- 
riage doesn't seem to change him; 
he never looks happier or less shab- 
by or less browbeat. 

In '42 I heard his first complaint. 
By then we're both getting into 
our forties and, what with his lack 
of size and caved-in chest and my 
insides all busted up from pre- 
World War I football, the army 
doesn't want us. So he* never 
misses a day except on his vacation. 

He says, "I can't get raw ma- 
terials." About three months later, 
I understand what he means when 
he says, "My hobby is inventing." 

In '45 I ask him, "What do you 
invent?" 

It takes him two years to decide 



to tell me. By now we are pretty 
good pals. He never tells anyone 
else that I know of. He says, "I 
invent machines. Super machines." 
In '48 he says, "But they don't 
work. Someday . . ." 



AND IN '53, on the day of our 
thirty-first anniversary, you 
might say, he comes in and things 
are different. All different. I can 
feel it when he opens the door and 
comes in at five-o-nine instead of 
five-ten. There is plenty more dif- 
ferent, too. He walks up to the bar 
like it's his and roars: 

"Two beers, Mike!" 

I drop a glass I'm so surprised, 
but I give him two beers like he 
wants. He gulps them both dov^n, 
puts a foot on the rail and looks 
me straight in the eye. His eyes are 
a sort of washed blue. I've never 
noticed them before. 

"Beer for the house!" he yells at 
me. 

"Take it easy, Mr. Pettis," I says. 

"Easy, hell!" he shouts and slaps 
a roll as big as his hand on the bar. 
"And call me Rabelais, Mike. 
We're pals, aren't we?" 

"You bet," I assures him. And I 
mean it. Not because of the dough. 
That makes me sweat. I can't figure 
where this little guy gets such a 
wad. And good money, too. 

He sets them up three times. By 
now he's feeling fine. I suggest he 
get going before he misses the last 
train home. 

"I already missed it," he says 
proudly. "And I'm not going home. 
Let the old battle-axe really have 
something to complain about. Beer, 
Mike!" 




^^tf/KV-^ 



102 



LOUIS TRIMBLE 



In a way I hate to see it, but then 
I figure a man has a right to let 
off a little steam once every thir- 
ty-one years. Even so, I get a little 
worried when he asks for the phone 
and calls up his wife. 

He says, "Myrtle, this Rabelais. 
Rabelais, your husband, you old 
sow." He takes a breath and says, 
"You're damned right I'm drunk. 
And I'm staying that way. Go 
home to your mother . . . Oh yes, 
you are. You're leaving on the 
12:05 tomorrow and you'll eat 
chicken a la king on the train and 
fall asleep at Holt's Corner and 
snore all the way home. And your 
mother will be mad because her 
left fender will get dented on the 
way to the station." Bang! He 
hangs up. 

"Beer, Mike." 

"Now look, Mr.— Rabelais— " 
He ignores me. "Mike, who owns 
this place?" 

I don't, but I'd like to. I tell him 
who my boss is and he hunts him 
up in the phone book and calls him. 
He says, "This is Rabelais Pettis. 
I want to buy your Fifth Avenue 
Tavern. How much? . . . Sold!" 

And so help me, the boss comes 
down and Rabelais hauls bills from 
every pocket and lays it on the bar 
in a great big pile. Then he has 
the boss sign the place over to me. 
Me, Mike Murphy. I iigure to- 
morrow when he wakes up broke 
I'll have to give it back. But tonight 
I own it. I'm real proud. 

But I don't get to enjoy it. He 
says, "Mike, let's do the town." 
Can you refuse a guy who just 
I'ivcs you a thirty thousand dollar 
|iiopcrty? We do the town. We do 
the girl shows, and he yells at all 



the dames and tries to date the 
usherettes until we finally get 
pitched out. We get pitched out of 
five before I steer him to a hash 
house. 

"Phooey," he says. "We'll go to 
the Buster for a steak." That's our 
fanciest place where the food starts 
at ten dollars. We have two of the 
biggest steaks I ever saw with 
champagne and stuff, and so help 
me, when Rabelais tries to date the 
floor show girls, instead of getting 
pitched out, we walk out with two 
of the cutest kids I ever hope to 
see. Only they're young enough to 
be our daughters or maybe grand- 
daughters even. 

Rabelais is big hearted if not big 
in any other way. He says to his 
kid, a redhead a foot taller than 
he, "Do you have a fur coat?" 

"No, Rabelais." She learns fast 
that he likes the name now. 

"Ha," he says. "Then we'll get 
some." 

"In the summer?" I asks. 
"We'll make it winter," Rabelais 
says. "I'm tired of summer. Be- 
sides in '56 there's a new bar in 
town and it's a pip." 

Now the three of us are halfway 
sober and we just look at each 
other and shrug. But Rabelais acts 
and talks normal enough. He calls 
a cab and has us hauled to an old 
cottage in the suburbs. He waves 
the cabby off with a twenty dollar 
bill. When we go inside, he points 
across the way. "I live there. This 
is my secret laboratory." 

We think he is kidding us some 
more because there isn't anything 
but dust and cobwebs in the place. 
But he takes us to the basement 
and there is a whole mess of junk 



PROBABILITY 

lying around. There are bars and 
gears and wires and some stuff that 
doesn't make any sense at all. It 
has cobwebs and dust on it too. 
, "My super machines," he says. 
"They don't work." 

The redhead looks a little as if 
she thinks he's nuts. But what can 
she do? Already he's given her a 
hundred dollar bill just for fun. 

"But," he says, leading us into 
another room, "this one does work." 

There isn't anything in the room 
but a big metal plate on the floor 
with a wooden bench on it and 
levers and rods in front of the 
bench. "Climb on," Rabelais says. 

We sit on the bench to humor 
him and he pulls one lever as far 
left as he can, then another a little 
ways, then another, and a fourth. 
Then he twists a rod to the right. 
The lights go out and a cold draft 
of air comes in through a window. 
When the lights come on the air is 
still cold. The girls are shivering. 

"Three p.m., January 12, 1956," 
says Rabelais. "Let's go get fur 
coats." 

So we go out the way we came 
in and it's daylight. And there's 
snow on the ground. The cottage 
is the same but the street is a high- 
way now. Rabalais hails the fanciest 
looking cab I ever see and we get 
driven to town where he buys all 
of us fur coats in a store I never 
heard of. Then we go to a dinner 
club that makes the Buster look 
like a greasy spoon. None of us 
can say a word. 

After he pays the check, Rabelais 
says, "I'm short of cash. Let's go to 
the bank." 

"Banks ain't open," I remind 
him. 



103 

"Mine is," he says and makes a 
phone call. Pretty soon a big fancy 
limousine with a chauffeur drives 
up and we all pile in. I manage to 
balk long enough to buy a news- 
paper. Sure enough, the date is 
January 12, 1956. 

We go to the financial section 
and right past my tavern. It's all 
lighted up and fancy looking and 
there's a big sign saying, "MIKE'S" 
outside. 

Rabelais says, "You're making a 
mint, Mike." 

"I see," I agrees, dazed. Rabelais 
flicks the paper with a silly grin 
and tells me to look on page four. 
I do and there's an editorial beside 
a cartoon of me, pot belly and all, 
and it says, "Mayor Mike Murphy 
agrees to run for Congress ..." 

"Me?" 

"You," says Rabelais. "You make 
it, too, Mike." 

Before I can answer, we stop at 
a building lighted up. Over the 
door it says, "Pettis." That's all. 
It's his, the whole building. And 
it's full of offices. He shows me one 
where his former bosses are slaving 
over drafting boards. The bank 
part is closed but some slavics are 
working late as people in banks al- 
ways do and we go in and Rabelais 
gets a wad of money and we leave. 

It goes on like that. I'm ashamed 
to say we get sort of looped and the 
next thing we know we're in Paris 
and having a fine time. Then we 
take another flier on his machine 
and it's summer. We enjoy that for 
a while and then try another sea- 
son. It goes on that way for a tou- 
ple weeks. Once we accept the fact 
that we're traveling in time, it's 
easy. 



104 

But Rabelais, even when he's 
looped, won't take us into the past 
or far into the future. He just says, 
"We hare to watch probability, 
Mike." 

I don't get the idea but it doesn't 
seem to matter much. We're having 
too good a time kicking around in 
the near future. Finally when we 
all feel ready for a Keeley cure, 
Rabelais takes us home. We land 
in the basement at the very moment 
we left it but with our fur coats and 
fancy luggage and souvenirs. Ra- 
belais locks over all the gadgets we 
have and those that are too much 
ahead of our time, he throws away. 
In a taxi heading for town, I 
smoke my dollar cigar. I'm happy. 
The girls are quiet, a little sad. 

"It was fun," the redhead sighs. 
"Kicking won't seem the same." 

"Quit that kind of work," Ra- 
belais says. "Go to college or some- 
thing." And he hands each of them 
a big wad of money. 

Downtown we split up, each of 
us going off somewhere to get the 
rest we need. I sleep around the 
clock and a little more. When I 
wake up I'm the owner of a tavern 
still, so I figure I'm to be mayor in 
'54 and congressman in '56. It's a 
wonderful life for a while. The 
only thing is that I miss Rabelais 
coming in at five-ten for his beer. 

In '54 I get elected Mayor like 
he said. My business gets remod- 
elled and all is swell. 



THEN ONE night I go to sleep 
in my new house and I wake 
up in the middle of the night feel- 
ing a cold draft. When I turn over 
I roll onto a lump in the mattress 



LOUIS TRIMBLE 

and I know it was all a dream and 
I'm Mike Murphy, bartender, 
again. 

The next a.m. I pick up the pa- 
per and it's the summer of '53, the 
day of Rabelais and my thirty-first 
anniversary and I'm back at the old 
stand. It was a fine dream, I says, 
and go to work. 

At five-o-nine, though, I can't 
help looking at the clock. And sure 
enough, Rabelais comes in, walks 
up to the bar like he owns it and 
roars at me, "Two beers, Mike!" 

I can't help saying, "Look, 
haven't we done this before?" 

He grins at me. "And we may 
have to do it again a few times," he 
says. 

By now I know him pretty well, 
I think — or maybe I dreamed I 
know him; I'm not sure. Anyway, 
I give him the two beers and wait 
for him to get around to telling me 
whatever is on his mind. 

He goes through the same act 
as before — only I can't be sure he 
did go through the act or I 
dreamed he did. "Beer for the 
house," he yells. 

"Take it easy," I cautions. "Take 
it easy, Rabelais." 

"You never called me by my 
first name before, did you, Mike?" 
I open my mouth to remind him 
that he told me to back in 1953 
and then I remember it is 1953. 
That confuses me because I re- 
member, too, that in 1954 I was — 
or maybe it's that I'm going to be 
— mayor. I just close my mouth and 
wait. 

Rabelais takes his time. When 
the early rush clears out, he gets 
me ofT to one end of the bar and 
says, "Sorry to keep you waiting, 



PROBABILITY 



105 



Mike, but we have to do it all over 
again." 

"Then it wasn't a dream?"- 

"No dream," he says. 

"But everything was going fine." 

"Up to a point," he says. "Up 
to the sixties." 

Then he explains the way his 
machine works. But all I get out of 
what he says is that there's a law 
of probability so he can't go back 
and shoot his grandfather when the 
old man is a boy or juggle stocks 
in '47 to pay off and make him 
rich in '53 and things like that. 
That is why he wouldn't let us go 
back into the past. He was afraid 
we would do something to change, 
history and — ^bingo. 

And he wouldn't let us go into 
the future very far because up a 
way the atom bomb gets loose and 
it is awfully sad to see and dan- 
gerous besides. 

"That was in the sixties," he 
says. "Or will be in the sixties. Only 
I got it figured out so it won't be, 
Mike." 

It's over my head; I just keep on 
waiting. 

He explains that he made a pile 
of dough in the near future by bet- 
ting on horse races and cleaning 
out a few bookies and investing his 
winnings in stocks he knew were 
going up (and in fact they wouldn't 
have gone up if he hadn't looked 
into the future and known they 
would so he could go back and 
buy them) and anyway, he figured 
the exact day it would be safe to 
start and so he did. 

"Only," he says, "we made a 
mistake by making you mayor and 
then congressman. I have it figured 



out for you to be congressman right 
from the start — ^in fifty-four. That 
gives you two extra years of senior- 
ity on Congress and so when the 
chips are down you have a little 
more pull." 

"Fine," I says and start to take 
off my apron. 

"The thing is," he explains, 
"there are a couple of lunkheads 
in Congress that get super-patriotic 
and they're the ones who cause 
the trouble with the bomb getting 
loose." He leans over the bar and 
looks real serious at me. "And you," 
he goes on, "are the one who stops 
them before they get started." 

"Me? Me, Mike Murphy?" 

"You," he says. "We just go on 
a different time track from the one 
we tried before. And this one ought 
to work." He gives me his grin. 
"You should see the history books 
about the year 2000. You're a real 
national hero, Mike." 

I throw my apron into a corner 
and roll down my sleeves. I'm 
ready. 

And it goes just like Rabelais 
says. I pass up the mayor's job and 
go straight to Congress. In my 
third term I get a chance to cool 
those two excitable characters — - 
cool them pohtically, that is, and 
I do. 

The only thing wrong is that 
Rabelais never lets me go into the 
future to read the history books 
that tell what a great guy I was and 
the things I did. So I'm never sure 
I'm doing the right thing. Like I 
tell him, how can I be sure what to 
do if he won't let me read about 
what I did? 

• • • THE END 



%■ 



Alas, poor Halvor! He was, undoubtedly, as in- 
telligent and capable as many of our most famous 
conquerors. Unfortunately, however, Halvor the 
Omnipotent lived in a day when people had 
changed — considerably ! 



The Last Conqueror 

By Morton Klass 



Illustrated by Phillip Parsons 



THIS IS the story of a man who 
wanted to conquer the world. 
And who did. His name was 
Halvor the Omnipotent. 

You all know the name of course. 
The day of his death is commemo- 
rated yearly by the entire world. 
And now you are old enough to 
understand the reason why. 

When you belonged to earlier 
age groupings, you learned of the 
ancient conquerors — Alexander, 
Caesar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, 
Hitler, Stalin and others who 
raised mighty armies and waged 
wars which cost millions and mil- 
lions of lives. But these were con- 
querors of ancient times, while 
Halvor lived in a world very much 
like your own. 

Halvor was born almost eight 
hundred years ago, almost two 
hundred years after the Last Great 
War of 1993-2010 and the estab- 



lishment of the New Civilization. 
He lived in a children's house 
which was probably very much like 
the one you are living in now. 
His childhood was very much like 
yours. 

With one difference. 

Halvor was born suffering from 
hemophilia. In two hundred years 
mankind had made tremendous 
strides. Microbe and virus diseases 
had disappeared. It was no longer 
possible to inherit functional dis- 
abilities. But certain things take 
time. With gene control still in its 
infancy at that time, if a child 
were born of mutated germ plasm, 
the science of eight hundred years 
ago could do little for him. 

Oh, they made things as com- 
fortable as possible for Halvor. By 
the time he was three years old he 
had learned how to apply clotting 
salve to any cuts he received. What 



107 



108 



MORTON KLASS 



his blood was not capable of doing, 
science could do for him. But from 
some things Halvor would be eter- 
nally barred. He could never play 
the everyday games of the other 
children. He could never romp 
with the animals in the woods out- 
side the children's house. And he 
was different from the other chil- 
dren. They knew it — and he knew 
it. 

That would never happen today. 
First, of course, because hemophilia 
such as his would be removed be- 
fore the baby was born, and sec- 
ondly, because we know enough to- 
day to see to it that no child feels 
different from the rest. You mustn't 
sneer at the world of Halvor's day. 
They were learning as fast as they 
could, after so many thousands of 
years of total ignorance, but there 
was so much to learn, and so much 
to understand. And there still is. 
You will know more than your 
parents, and your children more 
than you. 

Well, Halvor was different. He 
studied the same things the other 
children did, but, because he was 
different, they meant different 
things to him. The other children 
learned of the horrible habits of the 
primitive peoples of pre-civiliza- 
tional times, and they were glad — 
just as you are — that they hadn't 
lived in those times. Halvor was un- 
happy in his world, and wished he 
had been born in some other. The 
filth, the sicknesses, the hunger, 
pain, unfriendliness, ignorance and 
discomforts of barbaric days had no 
significance for him. 

His adult guides were aware of 
his attitudes, of course, and they 
reported it to the community lead- 



ers. Everyone tried to think of some 
way to make Halvor happy. But 
there was nothing anyone could do. 
Many people felt it was their own 
fault that Halvor was not satisfied 
with his life — that they were still 
too ignorant to prevent unhappi- 
ness — and it made them very sad. 



WHEN HALVOR reached his 
eighteenth birthday and left 
the children's house, the problem 
arose as to what he would do vwth 
his life. He was not the only misfit 
in his world, but the others were 
able to adjust. Some were unhappy 
because they were shorter than 
others, some because they were 
slower, some few felt — ^however 
illogically — that they were not as 
attractive as other people. Some 
had other physical and psycho- 
logical difficulties. 

Most of these individuals entered 
space explorational activities, 
where, from the hot side of Mer- 
cury to the cold wastes beyond 
Pluto, they made their peace with 
life. Even today, with teleportation 
common throughout the galaxy, 
there is adventure to be had by 
those who desire it. Perhaps one of 
you will have the honor of bring- 
ing life to a hitherto uninhabitable 
planet ! 

And if you should, remember to 
be grateful to Halvor, who made it 
possible. 

It wasn't necessary in Halvor's 
time — just as it isn't now — for any- 
one to have to do anything. When 
the joyous Coming of Age cere- 
mony — marking the end of his stay 
at the children's house — ended in 
a final week of songs and dances, 



THE LAST CONQUEROR 



109 



Halvor decided to go and live with 
his parents. 

His father and mother under- 
stood Halvor's problems quite well. 
They had visited him even more 
often than the customary four 
times a week, trying to reach and 
comfort the tortured spirit of their 
strange, self-centered child. They 
loved him, and he seemed to re- 
spond to their affection, but they 
admitted in later years that they 
were always more at ease in the 
presence of their other children. 

So, while most of Halvor's age 
group companions were establish- 
ing homes of their own, going off 
on the individual world tours which 
are always more exciting than the 
group voyages of childhood, settling 
down in some Higher-Learning 
community for further study, or in 
other ways finding their place in 
the adult world, Halvor himself 
moved into a room in his parents' 
home. 

He brought with him a few of 
his favorite microfilms, a three-dim 
of his particular Coming of Age 
ceremony, and enough clotting 
salve to last for quite a while. 

After Halvor had been living 
with them for almost two months, 
his parents, extremely troubled, 
went before the community lead- 
ers. They were no longer sure they 
were behaving properly toward 
him, and sought instruction. It ap- 
peared that in all the time since he 
had come to their house, Halvor 
had never once gone out with 
them to a nightly forest concert or 
an afternoon of games. He kept to 
his room, rereading his microfilms 
and occasionally ordering new ones 
from the community library. The 



librarians had noted, with some 
surprise, that he invariably re- 
quested fiction that dealt with the 
warlike experiences of people in 
barbaric times — works like The 
Three Musketeers, Caesar's Gallic 
Wars, The Boy Allies, and others. 

He left his room only at meal 
times and, after eating whatever his 
mother or father had ordered 
chuted from Central Kitchens, he 
returned to his microfilms. Any' 
questions put to him were answered 
in monosyllables. The only time he 
had ever started a conversation was 
one evening at supper when he 
asked his father what he thought 
Hannibal of Carthage must have 
been like. Startled, Halvor's father 
said he imagined Hannibal must 
have been a very unhappy man. 
Halvor, his father reported had 
grimaced and turned back to his 
food. 

At no period did Halvor indicate 
any interest in the local atomic 
power plant where his father, as 
senior technician, spent about fif- 
teen hours a week. Nor did he ever 
ask to visit the underground hydro- 
ponics garden where his mother 
worked. This fact particularly dis- 
turbed the community leaders be- 
cause children who develop no in- 
terest in any profession while in the 
children's house, from birth to their 
Coming of Age, generally tend to 
follow the occupation of one or the 
other of their parents upon their 
departure. 

Sometimes his former group- 
mates would contact him on the 
telecom, asking if Halvor would 
care to join them in some voyage 
being planned, or if hr can-ci to ,ii- 
tend get-togethers of Ibose of tin ir 



no 



MORTON KLASS 



age group who were presently liv- 
ing in the community. Halvor al- 
ways curtly refused. 

One of the girls from the group 
called up, explaining that she had 
built a small cottage on the shore of 
a nearby lake. She had an interest- 
ing job in Central Kitchens, work- 
ing about ten hours a week, but she 
was lonely. Would Halvor care to 
come and live with her? They had 
not been close friends in the chil- 
dren's house, but she had always 
admired his dark, quiet attractive- 
ness. Furthermore, she herself had 
been bom color blind and would 
therefore be able to sympathize 
with, and adjust to, Halvor's af- 
fliction. 

Halvor switched the telecom off 
while she was still talking. 



WHEN THE director of Halvor's 
children's house — who was 
present at the meeting — heard this 
last item, she offered her resigna- 
tion, claiming that Halvor's be- 
haviour indicated her unfitness for 
her position. 

The community leaders, after 
some deliberation, refused to accept 
her resignation. Halvor's failure to 
adapt to the culture was a group 
responsibility, not any one individ- 
ual's, they decided. 

They were discussing tjie advisa- 
bility of calling a world meeting 
and submitting the problem of Hal- 
vor's unhappiness to it, when they 
heard the sound of someone com- 
ing up the forest path toward 
their meeting place. Politely, they 
stopped talking and waited for the 
person to come into view. 

The bushes parted, and Halvor 



stepped into the sunny glade. For 
a long moment Halvor stood mo- 
tionless, arms folded, surveying the 
sprawled bodies of the dozen adults 
before him. Then, his lip curling in 
a grimace none of the others could 
understand, he began to speak in 
his high-pitched, determined voice. 

"I have come before you," Hal- 
vor said, "because, technically 
speaking, you are the leaders of the 
community in which I had the mis- 
fortune to be born. Actually, you 
are all quite powerless. You can 
order no one to do anything; you 
may merely suggest. You have no 
center of government, no appur- 
tenances of authority. And in that 
sense, you really do represent some- 
thing — the abysmal depths of man's 
last decadence! 

"What one of you — or of all 
latter-day mankind — ^is fit to lick 
the boots of those brawhng humans 
of the past who knew how to fight, 
to weep — to die! Who, on this en- 
tire miserable planet, would have 
any idea of how to behave if some 
race should sweep in from the stars 
to enslave us? 

"Fortunately, I have not been 
overwhelmed by the enervating 
philosophy which suflfocates the 
world. I am not in a class with the 
greats of the heroic eras, but there 
is no one eke in the world today to 
do the work that must be done. I 
demand, for the sake of himianity's 
future, that you recognize me as 
your leader, and that you follow 
me in the glorious task of awaken- 
ing all mankind!" 

There was a pause when Halvor 
had finished speaking. Though few 
present had any idea of the mean- 
ing of Halvor's words, they nodded 



THE LAST CONQUEROR 



m 



thoughtfully, as if they had been 
merely listening to an outline for a 
proposed series of concerts. This 
would require discussion, but ob- 
viously not in Halvor's presence. 

The director of the local hydro- 
ponics garden was the first to speak. 
"Halvor," he asked, "is this what 
you require to make you happy?" 

Halvor frowned. "It is not a 
question," he said carefully, "of my 
happiness", but of the salvation of 
mankind." 

The director nodded, as if his 
query had been satisfactorily an- 
swered. A quick glance — no more 
than the flicker of a troubled eye- 
brow — passed between the men and 
women on the grass. 

"Halvor," said the director of the 
children's house, "we can't give you 
an answer immediately." She went 
on hurriedly, repressing with great 
difficulty her impulse to listen 
politely when she saw Halvor's 
mouth begin to open. "We realize 
how impatient you are to get on 
with the work you've outlined, but 
you must remember that this is a 
situation without precedent in our 
lives. We must have time to dis- 
cuss it." 

Halvor looked up at the noon 
sun. "Til be back in an hour," he 
announced. Turning on his heel, he 
strode into the forest, his thin shoul- 
ders thrown back, and his pale back 
held stiffly erect. 

The first few moments after Hal- 
vor's departure the community 
leaders spent soothing the grief of 
Halvor's parents. It was pointed 
out to them that they were no more 
responsible for Halvor's state of 
mind than the rest of the people of 
the Earth. The Chief Librarian put 



it most succinctly: "Let us once 
and for all realize that to the com- 
munal ignorance of humanity be- 
longs the blame, and to no individ- 
ual or group of individuals. Our 
problem now is to fit Halvor into 
the world, or — at least in his eyes — 
to fit the world to him!" 

It was on this point that the dis- 
cussion proceeded. The talk was 
leisurely, as is the custom, but they 
kept within Halvor's time limit. 
Finally, the director of the local 
Central Kitchens summed things 
up. 

"Why should we not grant Hal- 
vor his wish? If a man demanded 
payment in ancient money for his 
work, or a woman requested clothes 
to wear, would we not try to satis- 
fy them? Halvor longs for the 
meaningless trappings of a past 
that seems. more pleasant to him 
than his own present. Very well. 
Surely our society is flexible enough 
to encompass an individual who 
wishes to call himself world leader. 
We should notify the other com- 
munities, of course, but I think that 
all will agree with our decision to 
grant Halvor his desire." 

No one dissented, and the Com- 
munications Director announced 
that he would contact the rest of 
the world that very night. 

Just before Halvor re-entered the 
glade, the Health Director com- 
mented, frowning, "Still, I wish 
that the old sciences of mental dis- 
orders had not been so thoroughly 
neglected in the past century." 
Turning to the Chief Librarian, he 
continued, "I'd appreciate all the 
books on the subject you can round 
up. . ." 

When Halvor stood before them. 



112 



MORTON KLASS 



■waiting impassively, but with burn- 
ing eyes, the director of the power 
plant rose to his feet. He re- 
membered dimly from his child- 
hood readings that among some an- 
cient peoples this was considered 
a sign of respect. 

"We're going to grant your re- 
quest, Halvor," the director told 
him solemnly. "In our eyes, hence- 
forth, you are to be considered the 
— ruler, is it? — of the world, and 
are to be given all honors accruing 
to that position. Furthermore, we'll 
notify the rest of the world of our 
decision and the reasons for it. 
There will be community meetings, 
here and in all other settlements 
on the globe, but I am quite sure 
they'll all end as ours did today. 
Do you have any other requests to 
make?" 

Halvor stared at the director 
and, for a moment, all present 
could see how young and defence- 
less Halvor was. Then his jaw 
hardened and his voice, when he 
answered, was without emotion. 

"I will have many instructions 
for you in a few days — be sure of 
that. At the moment, let me con- 
gratulate you for showing an 
amount of wisdom I did not think 
humans capable of in this degen- 
erate age. And from now on, you 
are to address me as 'Your Mag- 
nificence' and you are to refer to 
me as, 'Halvor the Omrtipotent' 1" 



THE DIRECTOR of the power 
plant was correct, of course. 
Meetings were held all over the 
world. For days afterward, Halvor's 
novel request was the subject of 
conversation at breakfast tables, 



sports fields, laboratories, concerts, ^ 
and wherever else people gathered. ! 
Community decisions accumulated j 
slowly. But at the end of a week ) 
it was clear that the people of 
Earth were in agreement. 

Halvor the Omnipotent was the 
accepted ruler of all humanity. ' 

His first demands were modest. 
He wanted a tight-fitting suit of 
black, a swirling cape, a plumed 
helmet, and knee-length leather 
boots. You will find illustrations of 
these items — or similar ones — in 
your copy of Humanity Covers 
Himself: From Animal Skins to 
Coal Derivatives. 

The clothes were manufactured 
for him by one of the winter- 
weather textile factories who, as 
you know, also make costumes for 
drama groups. They exercised con- 
siderable ingenuity, making gar- 
ments sturdy enough to protect the 
wearer from the minor cuts and 
bruises that were so dangerous. 

Halvor also demanded, and re- 
ceived, a grav-car for his personal 
use. He requested that it be 
painted black and that the figure 
of a golden sword be drawn on 
the side, near the door. In bar- 
baric days, symbols were used to 
represent groupings of people, 
popular philosophies and abstract 
ideas. A few of them still remain 
with us. You are probably all fa- 
miliar with the mathematical sym- 
bol for infinity. 

When all of these demands had 
been met, Halvor donned his new 
coverings and, with an adequate 
supply of clotting salve, set out in 
his grav-car for what he termed 
his "triumphal tour of his worldly 
domains." 



THE LAST CONQUEROR 



113 



All went well for Halvor in the 
beginning. 

In whatever part of the world 
Halvor landed, large crowds gath- 
ered to greet him. Usually, he pre- 
ferred to come down on some low 
hilltop surrounded by flat, treeless 
meadowland. Word of his arrival 
would spread, as Halvor stood erect 
and unsmiling- — arms folded, legs 
outspread — beside his black grav- 
ear. 

The local children's houses 
would empty; kitchens, synthetic- 
meat mills, power plants, hydro- 
ponic gardens, higher-learning cen- 
ters, libraries, play groups — all 
would shut down, or be maintained 
by a bare skeleton crew, as men, 
women and children flocked to see 
the ruler of the world. 

It was not merely politeness that 
drew them, nor their natural de- 
sire to make Halvor happy, but also 
a certain curiosity about this young 
man who had announced his pref- 
erence for barbarism in such a 
marked manner. His odd garb in- 
trigued them, and his speeches, on 
these occasions, were always enter- 
taining. 

When it was learned that Halvor 
enjoyed delivering barbarically 
heroic — if intellectually quite 
meaningless — lectures, many indi- 
viduals delved into ancient history, 
memorizing the proper crowd-re- 
sponses. This was done at first sim- 
ply to please Halvor, but soon 
many individuals found the com- 
petition of trying to discover the 
most interesting or obscure crowd- 
response as amusing as some find 
poetry-writing contests or feats of 
athletic skill. 

Many of Halvor's speeches were 



recorded, of course, and have been 
of great interest to later students. 
Here is a transcript of one of the 
shorter, but typical, ones: 

"Fellow humans! Worthy sub- 
jects! (said Halvor) Gazing out 
upon your humble, earnest faces, I 
take heart. Humanity is not lost. 
There is yet hope that I may lead 
you back to the glorious days of 
manly strife and noble suffering!" 

"Vive le roU" 

"For suffering is ennobling. I 
know you have been taught to 
avoid pain and hardship, to pro- 
tect others, that the proper aim of 
mankind is to turn the earth into 
the green, insipid parkland that it 
is. A place where all may eat, all 
may love, study, play, work, sleep 
— with never a fear for tomorrow! 
I ask you — are we humans or but- 
terflies?" 

"Hoo-raw!" 

"Remember the Maine!" 

"See what has happened to the 
world — what I am saving you from. 
Two hundred years ago, mankind 
was two billion strong. Today, even 
counting the settlers on the other 
planets, there are barely seven hun- 
dred million humans! Oh, I know 
those foul teachings- — which I in 
my might am destroying^ — ^will 
snivel that so-called inteUigent lim- 
iting of the population has helped 
create comfort and plenty for all! 
I say, Humanity is dying out!" 

"Eee-ya-hooo!" 

"If I had not come along, in a 
bare century mankind would have 
gone the way of the dinosaur! In 
one fifty-year period, before the 
rise of our decadent, slothful cul- 
ture, a thousand weapons were in- 
vented; tremendous edifices — 



114 



MORTON KLASS 



monuments to the mightiness of 
man — towered in the sky. We have 
invented no weapons. In the short 
space of two hundreds years, we 
have forgotten how to use the old 
ones! We grovel in tiny huts set in 
the wilderness not, as you are 
taught to believe, because the sim- 
ple life is healthier and pleasanter, 
but because we lack the ability to 
build cities!" 

"For king and country, laddie!" 

"Arise, ye prisoners of starva^ 
tion!" 

"A moi, A moi!" 

"We must forget the vicious con- 
cept of 'labor for the sake of greater 
leisure'. So much has been left un- 
done in the age of idleness, now 
happily past, that a time of strenu- 
ous, back-breaking endeavor is in 
store for all of us. But it will be 
well worth it, my people! For in 
this time to come — " 

"Howdah!" 

"Vino amo daj!" 

"For in this time to come, man- 
kind shall yet find himself! We 
shall rebuild the cities, taller and 
more glorious than before ! And not 
only on Earth, but on every planet 
in the system!" 

"Smrt fasisma!" 

"The factories will rise once 
more. We shall produce not just 
enough for our needs, but enough 
to trade for all the wealth of the 
galaxy. And we will build' the ships 
that will take us there in over- 
whelming force! And we shall 
build weapons, not only to protect 
ourselves against enemy races, but 
to build an empire in the stars! For 
it is written in the old books that 
the very stars are our heritage!" 

"Hola!" 



"Fifty-four forty or fight!" 
"And we shall breed children. 
Not just enough to populate the 
Earth and the planets around our 
sun, but enough to crowd the cos- 
mos! Strong, healthy, determined 
young men and women, fearless, 
and ready to take their rightful 
place in space. And mankind tri- 
umphant, under my leadership, 
shall rise to new heights of nobil- 
ity, so that future generations shall 
look back on us, not with shame, 
but with pride and envy!" 
"Kinder, kuche, kirche!" 
"Tippecanoe and Tyler too!" 
"Y'chi hedad, hedad, hedad!" 
"Three rousers for the Iron 
Duke!" 

"Sieg heil! Sieg heiU Sieg heil!" 
Then, of course, after the speech 
was over, everyone would gaily 
wave good-by to Halvor, and go 
home to supper. Many would call 
out to Halvor to be sure to come 
their way again, for his speeches 
made interesting topics of conversa- 
tion at forest festivals, and were 
certainly an amusing break in the 
normal routine of life. 



FOR SOME MONTHS, Halvor 
continued around the world, 
making such speeches, often at the 
rate of three or four a day. Then, 
suddenly, he returned home. 

He did not visit his parents or 
any of his old friends, but brought 
his grav-car dovm outside the mod- 
est cottage of the Communications 
Director. He strode into the house 
and demanded brusquely that all 
the community leaders be sum- 
moned at once. Concerned, the di- 
rector set out for their homes. The 



THE LAST CONQUEROR 



115 



director's wife offered Halvor re- 
freshments, but he refused curtly. 

She reported later that, until the 
arrival of the leaders, Halvor spent 
his time pacing restlessly up and 
down, clenching his fists, slapping 
his thigh, and muttering thickly un- 
der his breath. 

Naturally, since he was not 
speaking to her, she tried not to 
listen, but she could not avoid over- 
hearing a few words. They were 
disconnected, consisting mostly of 
phrases like: "Hopeless, hopeless 
... no contact possible . . . can't 
make them understand . . . have 
to show. . ." 

When the community leaders 
finally arrived, Halvor avoided all 
the usual formalities of greeting, 
and came immediately to the point. 

"I have decided," announced 
Halvor, "that hmnanity is more 
enfeebled than even I had thought. 
Words — exhortations — are not 
enough. Something much more 
graphic is required, both to point 
out the world the significance of 
my position, and the differences be- 
tween this decadent society and 
heroic ones of the past. I want a 
palace. I shall submit specifica- 
tions, and you people will construct 
it as soon as possible." 

The meeting that followed Hal- 
vor's request was one of the storm- 
iest in the community's history. 
Twice, speakers were intermpted 
before they had finished and, even 
after a decision had been agreed 
upon, the Health Director con- 
fessed reluctantly that he was not 
satisfied that it was the best pos- 
sible decision. 

But Halvor was to have his pal- 
ace. The major objection put forth 



by the Health Director was that 
every attempt to satisfy Halvor, by 
agreeing to his demands, resulted 
only in his being more unhappy. 
Perhaps, the director suggested, a 
way might yet be found to integrate 
Halvor into the existing world, 
rather than to allow him to con- 
struct an unbeUevable dream-world. 

However, the meeting refused to 
even consider the idea of not grant- 
ing an individual his desires, what- 
ever form they took. And the state- 
ment of the Construction Director 
that he and his group were looking 
forward to the problems of Hal- 
vor's palace with some interest 
clinched the matter. 

Halvor's specifications, when 
submitted, were not too complete. 
They consisted mostly of illustra- 
tions from children's microfilms. 
Some, in fact, even contained fea- 
tures that were mutally exclusive. 
The construction group promised 
to build something as close as pos- 
sible to Halvor's desires, and in two 
months the palace was completed. 

For those two months, Halvor 
decided against living with his par- 
ents and moved into a small cottage 
which lay alone in a somewhat un- 
attractive part of the local forest. 
The cottage itself was rather small, 
having been constructed for a fam- 
ily unit of two, and in Halvor's 
time the three or four unit family 
was becoming popular, with even 
an extra room or two for children 
who might want to come and stay 
a while with their parents. 



THE DAY of Halvor's entrance 
into his new palace was marked 
by a gala festival. People came 



116 



MORTON KLASS 



from all over the world to partici- 
pate in the event, and Halvor made 
a long speech. 

Again, all went well for a short 
time. Halvor stayed in his palace, 
issuing proclamations. He was 
rarely lonely. Visitors arrived every 
day, some to see Halvor, many to 
view his anachronistic home. The 
palace still exists, of course, and 
many of you may have visited it. It 
is maintained as a memorial of hu- 
manity's gratitude to Halvor. 

The major difficulty arose when 
Halvor demanded that all who visit 
him be dressed in special garments 
of his own design. Most people 
shrugged and did as he requested. 
A few, however, commented rea- 
sonably that they found clothes un- 
pleasant and uncomfortable and 
refused to wear them. 

In the second year of Halvor's 
residence in his palace, matters 
came to a head. 

The incident occurred during 
one of the Health Director's week- 
ly visits. For many months, this 
man had been trying to gain Hal- 
vor's confidence. To some degree, 
he did succeed. Certainly, Halvor 
spoke more freely in his presence 
than in that of any other person. 
The Health Director afterwards re- 
lated that he found the youthful 
ruler of the world sitting alone in 
his throne room, apparently much 
distressed. 

Falling to one knee, in accord- 
ance with Halvor's palace protocol, 
the Health Director asked, "Your 
Omnipotence, are you unwell?" 

Halvor made a gesture of dis- 
gust. "Why doesn't the world lis- 
ten to me?" he demanded angrily, 
sitting upright on his throne. 



The Health Director climbed to 
his feet and considered the ques- 
tion. For a moment, he admitted 
later, he was tempted to lie. For 
those of you who are unfamiliar 
with the term, lying is the giving 
of incorrect information, knowingly 
and purposely. The Director was 
afraid the truth might be painful to 
Halvor. 

But telling lies, while a frequent 
practice In barbaric times, is an ex- 
tremely difficult thing for us to do. 
It goes against the basic fabric of 
our culture. Even back in the days 
of Halvor, lying was already con- 
sidered an uncomfortable, irra- 
tional act, and the Health Direc- 
tor could not bring himself to do it. 
"They listen. Your Omnipo- 
tence," he said hesitantly, "but 
they'll never change to suit your 
ideas." 
"Why!" 

"Because they're happy. Man 
has personal, individual peace and 
security, and that's what he wants 
— all he ever wanted." 

"But he's dead!" Halvor 
groaned. "Can't you see it? The 
aimless, uneventful — meaningless — 
pattern of life in the civilization!" 
The Health Director shook his 
head. "What has meaning for a 
man. Your Omnipotence? Where 
is this — purpose — you talk of, in- 
scribed? A man is bom, lives his 
years, and dies. As a baby, he has 
only two basic needs — food, and 
affection. And through the rest of 
his life he searches continually for 
those same two things. Security, 
and a sense of fellowship with the 
people around him. No culture 
ever existed where the ordinary 
people did not cooperate in some 



THE LAST CONQUEROR 



117 



way for the common good and join 
together in some communal recrea- 
tion." 

Halvor began to pace the floor. 
"And no community ever existed 
without warriors, without strife of 
some sort!" 

"Many did—" 

"Isolated, tiny groups," Halvor 
said, "which were wiped out as 
soon as they were contacted by 
more virile people!" 

"Yes," the Health Director 
agreed. "You're right. Many of 
them were. But even in barbaric 
times few really believed that 
'Might made Right' or that killing 
a man proved your arguments 
were better than his. 

"You talk of strife," he went on. 
"Insecure people, striking out in 
fear, destroying other individuals 
because they didn't know how to 
live with them. Poor, sick folk. In 
their way they wanted peace and 
security too. . ." 

"Suppose we're invaded by be- 
ings from space?" Halvor de- 
manded. "Earth wouldn't know 
how to fight!" 

"Suppose we're not attacked?" 
The Health Director smiled. 
"Wouldn't it be foolish to make an 
armed camp of the planet, just to 
ward off some unlikely invasion? 
Besides, happiness never killed a 
man, or destroyed his spirit. His- 
tory has shown that the greatest 
fighters were always those who 
were fighting to protect their homes 
— and a way of life that gave them 
personal happiness and security. 
And if happiness won't weaken an 
individual, why should it weaken 
a group of individuals — or the 
whole human race?" 



Halvor was beginning to show 
signs of great discomfort, but the 
Health Director could see no way 
to rechannel the conversation. 

"A sense of accomplishment," 
Halvor said thickly. "Even an indi- 
vidual needs it. Life is dull!" 

"Dull? Isn't it just as exciting to 
win a foot race as a duel? Youth 
seeks adventure, admittedly. Well, 
they can hike through the Matto 
Grosso, or live in an igloo for a 
year, hunting seals. Or prospect for 
uranium on Ganymede. And adults 
lead full, rich lives, contributing 
part of their time to the welfare 
of the community, and the rest of it 
to their own private pursuits. 

"Accomplishment?" he went on. 
"Why don't you really study the 
accomplishments of your own time, 
Halvor — I mean. Your Omnipo- 
tence? Some of the students from 
our Higher Learning center will be 
giving a series of lectures next 
week. Why not attend? And there 
will be a poetry contest in two 
weeks — which reminds me! Halvor, 
your speeches indicate you have a 
feeling for words. Why not enter 
the poetry contest yourself? I'm 
sure you could compete with the 
best—" 

Halvor interrupted him, crying 
in a loud, unfamiliar voice, "Re- 
move this man and execute him at 
once!" 

It was a little while before he 
made it clear that what he wanted 
was to have the man forcibly de- 
prived of life. The Health Direc- 
tor left the palace and, soon after, 
Halvor asked whether his request 
had been carried out. When an at- 
tempt was made to explain why 
such a request was hardly feasible. 



118 



MORTON KLASS 



Halvor became violently unhappy 
and attempted to insert a table 
knife into one of the people present. 
It took three men to remove the 
knife from his hand. 



A WORLD meeting was held 
that day. The situation was 
becoming quite serious. If Halvor 
could behave that irrationally 
once, he might very well do it 
again. Waving a sharp implement 
as carelessly as he had, he might 
cut himself very badly one day, 
and even the best clotting salves 
might not be able to save him. 

The Health Director told of his 
visit and declared Halvor to be in- 
sane, an archaic term meaning that 
he had completely lost contact with 
reality, and could no longer be de- 
pended upon to take care of him- 
self. The final decision was to per- 
mit Halvor to live as he had in his 
palace, to try to satisfy all of his 
wishes that did not badly interfere 
with the lives of other people, and 
to see to it that someone was near 
him at all times. 

All sharp things were removed 
from the palace, of course. The 
builders, aware of Halvor's infirmi- 
ties, had constructed the palace 
without any acute edges anywhere 
which might cut Halvor's skin and 
cause him to bleed. 



For five more years Halvor lived 
this way, attempting occasionally to 
take either his own or someone 
else's life. In the fifth year, how- 
ever, Halvor found himself mo- 
mentarily alone, and threw himself 
from the imitation stone staircase, 
breaking his neck and dying im- 
mediately. 

That was the day, seven hundred 
and sixty-five years ago, when the 
first teleport materialized on Earth, 
bearing delegates from the Galactic 
Federation, and an invitation for 
Earth to join the other civilized 
peoples of the galaxy. 

You know that date, of course. 
What you may not have known 
till now was that the Federation 
had been observing us for some 
time, weighing our new civilization 
against our barbaric past. It was 
Earth's treatment of Halvor that 
decided them. 

Humanity was at last fully ma- 
ture. 

In the excitement of the day, 
people forgot about Halvor, artd 
when at last he was remembered it 
was too late. Halvor the Omnipo- 
tent, ruler of Earth, and the un- 
knowing bearer of the galactic 
membership to his planet — ^was 
dead. 

There was a long period of 
mourning. 

• • • THE END 



^■^ » 



SEXTUS Rollo Forsyte had trouble with the bottle, but nothing out of 
a bottle ever produced the likes of a hotel such as the Mahoney-Plaza! . . . 
Don't miss the chortles and laughs in Forsyte's Retreat, by Winston Marks, 
in the May issue — out March 10th! 




SCIENCE 



BRIEFS 



New Transistors 

THERE'S BEEN a blessed event 
in the transistor family. The tiny 
pea-sized germanium device that 
can amplify radio waves, music 
and speech has a brand new set of 
twin brothers for company. These 
newcomers, "tetrodes" and "pen- 
todes" by name, are different from 
big brother only in that they have 
three and four wires respectively 
running from the germanium nug- 
get instead of the two which the 
triode transistor has. This means 
the new transistors can do the work 
of two, and in some instances 
three, of the older variety, and that 
television sets of the future may be 
fantastically small as a result. 

These new twins will simplify 
electronic circuits and will prob- 
ably find their first jobs in elec- 
tronic computers. Since a transistor 
performance can't be standardized, 
and one tetrode or pentode can't 
be substituted for another without 
modifying the whole circuit they 
can't as yet be used in anything 
but a non-critical circuit such as 
the sort found in hearing aids. 
Radar circuits and many others are 
too complicated to be modified 
each time a new transistor needs to 
be installed, but future refinements 

n 



of these miraculous little gadgets 
may make them suitable for most 
of the jobs now handled by the 
more cumbersome vacuum tube. 

Robot Car 

SOME DAY you may be able to 
drop off to sleep and let your 
robot car do the job of driving for 
you. A model of this fool-proof car 
of the future has already been 
made and is now being tested by 
scientists at the Radio Corpora- 
tion of America. 

This model robot car is guided 
by a wire which would be buried 
under the roadbed of a super high- 
way. The wire sets up a magnetic 
field which is picked up by two 
coils placed on either side of 
the model car. If one of the toils 
gets a stronger signal than its mate . 
it is a warning that the car has 
swerved from its course and elec- 
tronic steering equipment immedi- 
ately guides the car back on its 
proper course. 

Signals coming back along the 
wire from a vehicle or obstruction 
ahead are passed to the steering 
mechanism and so prevent col- 
lisions and accidents. The five-foot 
model robot car can stop, start, 
steer itself along the road and, 
when necessary, pass another robot 
vehicle. The passing is accomplished 
by diagonal wires which shunt the 
car into the passing lane and then 
back to the right side of the road 
again all by way of the signals 
sent to the steering gear. 

Dr. V. K. Zworykin, head of the 
project, says there won't be any 
robot cars on the market in the 
very near future, but that devices 



120 



SCIENCE BRIEFS 



to cope with bad weather steering 
and collision prevention are really 
just around the comer and should 
annually save thousands of lives. 

Spotlight into the Brain 

A NEW TECHNIQUE, unparal- 
■'- ^ leled in the history of science, 
has been developed in study of 
the human brain. By the use of 
moist electrodes, fastened to the 
scalp and carrying no current ex- 
cept the tiny impulses emitted by 
the brain itself, a young British 
physiologist has been able to throw 
a spotlight deep into the human 
brain. The impulses are recorded 
on sensitive instruments which con- 
trol a light flashing into the sub- 
ject's eyes in a rhythm similar to 
the one pulsating from the brain. 

Another instrument called the 
toposcope which samples the elec- 
trical conditions in twenty or more 
areas of the brain and reproduces 
them in the changing glow of elec- 
tronic tubes arranged in the same 
pattern as the brain areas, is the 
particular wonder child of this very 
new science. For example, a rest- 
ing brain will show up dark at 
the front, but with rhythmic flickers 
of light at the back. An angry 
brain shows dim flickerings every- 
where, while a brain stimulated by 
lights flashing into the subjects eyes 
has a brilliant general glow. 

Certain waves known as alpha, 
theta, and delta rhythms have been 
discovered in this way, each with 
its own stimulant. Alphas are pat- 
tern-seeking, thetas are indications 
of bad temper, and deltas are the 
deadeners of the conscious mind. 
These studies reveal not only new 



knowledge about the brain, but 
personality types and human rela- 
tions as well. Although it is new as 
a science, a start has been made, 
and it is already helping doctors to 
understand mental illnesses. 

Crystals with Memory 

TITTLE CRYSTALS, about one- 
-*-' half inch square with a memory 
that some humans might envy, are 
one of the newest developments of 
the Bell Telephone Laboratories. 
These flat crystals, a few thou- 
sandths of an inch thick, have a 
unique ability to remember vast 
amounts of information for an 
indefinite period of time. Each one 
of these ferroelectric crystals can 
store approximately two hundred 
and fifty bits of memory and an- 
swer questions put to it later by an 
automatic machine. 

Grown artificially from the 
chemical barium titanate, these flat 
little crystals receive tiny charges 
of electricity which represent the 
answers to questions the machine 
might ask. A plus charge is given 
for a yes answer and a negative 
charge for a no. 

Although the telephone dialling 
systems now in use have remember- 
ing devices, they require for more 
space than an equivalent system 
using barium titanate crystals would 
need. Because of this, telephone en- 
gineers believe that these artifi- 
cially-grown crystals have a vast 
significance in the ever expanding 
Bell system, and should prove of 
inestimable value in the saving of 
space — among other possibilities 
forseen as a use for this new "crys- 
tal with a memory". 



% 1 



:^ 




WILDERNESS HOME — In the near future people will live comfortably, 
even luxuriously, deep in the woods and be as convenient to urban 
business as they are today commuting from the suburbs. This private 
home is not as independent as the multiple desert dwelling, but with 
the same type of electronic communications, helicopter and surface 
travel it is within easy emergency reach of all facilities in cities up to 
200 miles distant. (Drawings by Ed Voligursky.) 



M-' .^.^miM'w^s.-.'^^- 



m 





w .